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Why is it tjiat oiir civilisation, with all 
its tremendous opportunities, is so out- 
standingly an unhappy one? In other 
words, what are the conditions of happiness 
and how far does our society fulfil them ? 
These are the questions Mr. Taylor sets out 
to answer, pointing out that 'only those 
who understand the nature of happiness 
are in a position to appraise the success of 
a society or the desirability of a regime.' 

Mr. Taylor doe*, not rest content with an 
analysis of current ill*, but attempts to 
deduce principle* on which to base practical 
measure*. And hen 1 he emphasises that 
the problem of happinc** is in*eparable 
from the problem of behaviour. If we are 
I unhappy, it is chiefly because people behave 
as they do. Making use of some of the most 
recent researches in anthropology and psy- 
chology, Mr. Taylor argues that 'human 
nature' can be changed but to change it, 
we must understand the complex inter- 
relations of personality and society. 

Those who read his widely successful 
analysis of contemporary economics, Econ- 
omics for the Exasperated, know already 
that he has an unusual power of clarifying 
the most complex and technical issues. All 
should find in his brilliant and searching 
argument points they will accept, others 
they will want to discuss and, in a word, 
a great deal to think about. 

by the same author 




This book is copyright. No portion of it may be 
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Inquiries shuuld be addressed to the publisher 

Printed in Greet Britain by 


8 Bury PUce, London, W.C.I 

For Bettes 

The question that faces every man <born into this world is 
not what should be his purpose, which he should set about to 
achieve, but just what to do with life, a life which is given him 
for a period of, on the average, fifty or sixty years. The answer 
that he should order his life so that he can find the greatest 
happiness in it is more a practical question similar to that of how 
a man should spend his week-end, than a metaphysical proposi- 
tion as to what is the mystic purpose of his life in the scheme 
of the universe. 

LIN YUTANG, The Importance of Living 


I Anatomy of Unhappiness 3 

II Hierarchy of Needs 17 

in Superphysical Needs . 37 

iv Psychological Superstructure 61 

v Personality Formation 74 

vi Social Matrix 99 

vii Functioning Society 130 


viii Contemporary Unhappiness 144 

IX Vicious Circle 165 

x Industrial Personality 174 

xi Fascist Solution 193 

xii Communist Solution 213 



Xlii Sociology of Happiness 230 

xrv Politics of Happiness 254 

Index 277 


Part One 



I Nature Hits Back n The Science of Happiness in The Psycho- 
social Nexus iv Human Needs v What Happiness is Not 
vi Pseudo-Happiness vn Plan of Action 

I Nature Hits Back 

VxONSiDER these facts: every day 50 Americans and 15 Britons 
commit suicide. 

In the United States, every second hospital bed is occupied 
by a mental patient. 1 One in every six men rejected from the 
U.S. army for reasons of health was rejected on grounds of 
mental disorder. 2 According to an estimate by American 
psychiatrists, one person in every three met with in general 
practice is to some extent neurotic. 8 There are about 600,000 
persons in institutions for chronic alcoholics, to say nothing of 
an estimated two million heavy drinkers outside. 4 The figures 
for Britain are scarcely less serious. 

Lastly, bear in mind that the incidence of most of these 
figures is about three times as great as it was sixty years 

Whatever allowances we may feel inclined to make in inter- 
preting them, it is fairly obvious that modern civilisation 
makes many people deeply unhappy, corrupting the personali- 
ties of some and driving a shocking number to escape from their 
problems in mental breakdown or self-destruction. In many 

1 Testimony of Surgeon-General John Parran before U.S. Senate. 

8 Ency. Brit. Book of the Year, 1946. 

8 Lichtenstein and Small, A Handbook of Psychiatry, 1942. A similar 
figure is quoted for Britain by I. Suttie, Origins of Love and Hate, 
1935, and more recently by H. V. Dicks, Clinical Studies in Psycho- 
pathology, 1947. 

R. V. Seliger and V. Cranford, Contemporary Criminal Hygiene, 

Conditions of Happiness 

primitive societies, on the other hand, suicide and alcoholism 
are unknown and psychosis very rare. 

Simultaneously we note throughout the world a widespread 
dissatisfaction with existing political? social and economic 
conditions. There is an uncontrollable desire to experiment 
with new systems/ Few indeed are the states which are not 
toying with communism, socialism or fascism. The tremendous 
upsurge of nationalist feeling has a similar basis. 

The fact is, the present world crisis is a crisis of happiness. 
It is because they hope and believe that the world can be 
reordered so as to dispel their sense of futility and frustration 
that so many people are prepared to fight and die for their 
chosen 'ideology/ It is because they see no hope of any more 
satisfying existence than they have got that so many other 
people in the west turn their faces from life altogether. 

But it is very noticeable that although so many people feel, 
distinctly or diffusely, that something is wrong with modern 
life, yet they are very far from agreeing what this something is; 
still less can they agree what to do about it. 

The detached observer is entitled to conclude that none of 
the solutions so hotly advocated provides an exhaustive 
answer to the problem of our present discontent for it is 
hard to believe that a sound diagnosis of worldly ills could be 
preached so loudly and so long without finally winning general 
acknowledgment. The arguments of modern prophets are, 
very literally, unconvincing. Thus it is most striking how slow 
socialism has* been in gaining popularity, when it appears to 
offer such striking benefits to the bulk of the population. For 
nearly a hundred years it has been advocated by many brilliant 
writers and speakers and supported with great devotion, and 
yet the world as a whole has remained obstinately suspicious. 
Even its victories have been due not so much to its own merits 
as to the miserable demerits of its opponents. People instinc- 
tively felt that socialism, though it might indeed ensure a 
greater measure of certain obvious types of satisfaction, would 
simultaneously destroy other less tangible but equally vital 
modes of happiness. In concentrating on meeting physical 

Anatomy of Unhappiness 

needs food, clothing, housing it would neglect and smother 
obscure emotional and spiritual demands. 

This intuitive feeling is, I believe, sound. Certainly it 
cannot be denied that $pme types of satisfaction are mutually 
exclusive : the more we obtain of one the less we have of another. 
So it is never a wise policy to pursue happiness by trying to 
maximise whatever satisfactions lie to hand. That a thing yields 
benefits is not a sufficient argument. We must always bear in 
mind the whole field of potential satisfactions and compromise 
between the various possibilities in accordance with our assess- 
ment of their relative value. Otherwise, like a two-year-old 
child which cannot pick up another brick without dropping the 
one it is holding, we shall lose one source of happiness in gaining 
another and the exchange may not be to our advantage. 

In fact, during the last hundred years a great many of the 
changes which reformers, both of the right and of the left, have 
been demanding have come to pass: but people seem, on the 
whole, to be even less happy than before. They are more anxious 
and the fun seems to have gone out of life. At the same time 
society itself has become much less stable. Yet it seldom occurs 
to us that the two facts may be connected: that it may be just 
because we have tried to raise the standard of living that we 
have made ourselves insecure and unhappy. By this I do not 
mean to say that a raised standard of living is necessarily 
associated with unhappiness. It may be merely that the methods 
we have chosen to raise it are wrong. Or that our conception of 
what constitutes a high standard of living is wrong. 

'The real paradox of our time is not poverty in plenty but 
unhappiness in pleasure!* 

But in practice political reformers always fail to take this 
wider view. It is, to be frank, a gross impertinence for anyone 
to put forward proposals for remaking the world without first 
having made an exhaustive survey of the whole subject of human 
happiness. None of the arguments put forward in favour of 
currently-popular ideologies has the slightest validity, except 
in so far as practical experience of it may have permitted some 
empirical observation of the results. We are like a party of 

Conditions of Happiness 

shipwrecked sailors afloat in mid-ocean without map or com* 
pass. One declares we should steer this way, another that. These 
proposals are all futile, for even if one chances to be right we 
have no way of knowing it. 

Is it not truly remarkable that the political and economic 
reformers who surround us should feel so little hesitation in 
advocating reforms designed to achieve some immediate good 
without ever having satisfied themselves whether the course 
they propose will really achieve the ultimate objective ? Look ! 
they say, here is a cork with which to plug the leak in our boat ! 
And so saying they wrench out the bung. 

II The Science of Happiness 

'Very well,' you say, 'I agree that we need a science of 
happiness but it is not so easy.' 

Certainly the subject is a difficult one. 

It cannot be settled by any smoking-room wiseacre or rustic 
philosopher. But then smoking-room and tap-room discussion 
cannot penetrate the atom nor clarify the theory of relativity. 
The question is rather whether the mystery of happiness will 
yield to intensive scientific research. 

But while we devote large sums and many man-hours of 
thought and labour to studying bodily health, we devote none 
to the study of happiness. The subject is still where electricity 
was in the time of Galvani or health in the time of ^Esculapius. 
When the science of happiness develops it will, naturally, be 
a composite science, just as medicine embraces a score of 
related disciplines. In the last fifty years great progress has been 
made in many of the sciences which bear on the subject of 
happiness -psychology, psycho-analysis, sociology and anthro- 
pology in particular. Before the ceixtury closes the science of 
happiness will have been born. 

But can we wait so long ? The plight of the world is desperate. 
And in the hands of its suicidally-inclined peoples has been 
placed the atom bomb. Like scientists in war-time, we cannot 
afford to plan elaborate research, to check and recheck our 


Anatomy of Unhappiness 

theories. We must speculate audaciously, improvising from the 
limited number of facts at our disposal a theory which will serve 
to guide us in the operations which are being conducted even 
as we study the subject > 

Hence this book. It is a bold (even rash) attempt to bring 
together from a wide field a motley collection of facts bearing 
on the problem of happiness, and to combine them into a theory 
from which practical policies can be derived. Sooner or later 
I hope sooner investigators with more time and better 
resources will go over the ground again. Much of the detail 
will have to be scrapped, conclusions will have to be modified, 
and a vast array of new facts fitted into place; but perhaps the 
broad conception will endure. And if it does not, the attempt 
will not have been in vain if it stimulates the design of a more 
adequate structure. 

Some readers, I expect, will find this book too broadly based, 
too detached in viewpoint, too theoretical, to suit them. What 
is the good, they will exclaim, of discussing the ideal organisa- 
tion of society? What is the good of studying in detail the 
structure of personality ? Faced as we are with a world full of 
wretchedness of hunger, disease, war and other evident evils 
we have work enough to do without bothering about psycho- 
logical obscurities. Though natural enough, this is not a 
justifiable attitude. When the Black Death hit England, it was 
natural enough for doctors to try and help the dying. We know 
now that their efforts were largely futile, and that they would 
have done better to concentrate on isolating the plague and 
eradicating the vermin which bore it. So today, in our much 
larger problem, we devote our very limited resources to trying 
to help individuals when we should do better in the end to 
employ them in attacking the sources of the whole problem. 
But before we can do that we must understand its nature. 1 

1 There are some, indeed, who would dismiss this whole argument 
with the comment that 'we are not put into the world to be happy.' 
Asked to explain this assertion they generally claim that we are put into 
this world to prepare ourselves for some superior future existence. The 
logical error here lies in the assumption that unhappiness in this world 

Conditions of Happiness 

in The Psychosocial Nexus 

Out of the unco-ordinated welter of recent work in the fields 
of sociology and psychology one fact^has gradually emerged, 
a fact so important and far-reaching in its implications that even 
those who work in these sciences have, for the most part, failed 
to grasp the full significance of what they are unearthing. It is 
that the nature of society is dictated by the nature of the person- 
alities of those who compose it. Put like that, it does not sound 
very astonishing. We all recognise that the pattern of society, 
which consists of people, must be created by the behaviour of 
the people in it. But what the social sciences are doing is to 
show, first, that the influence is far deeper and more drastic 
than anyone had suspected ; that factors in behaviour which we 
ignore because we imagine them common to all human nature 
are in fact quite arbitrary, and that these factors create patterns 
in society which are equally arbitrary, although we have long 
regarded them as natural and inevitable. And, secondly, the 
social sciences are revealing the exact nature of this influence 
and the way in which it works. 

This series of discoveries has tremendous practical impor- 
tance. It means that attempts to raise the level of happiness by 
changing society as a whole are doomed to failure. Whatever 
new institutions are devised, whatever new values are established, 
men will twist them to suit the needs of their personalities. 
We can see this in the history of the Christian ethic, which 

in some way fits .us better for our future life. This is nonsense. Though 
suffering may in rare circumstances ennoble, in many others it certainly 
degrades. The inmates of Belsen were certainly not purified by their 
sufferings, and the creation of many an ignoble and malicious character 
can be traced to youthful unhappiness too great to bear. Even if we 
regard this world as preparation for another life, we cannot afford to 
ignore the subject of happiness which, properly used, may be a major 
force in spiritual development. It should be added that in many cases 
this rejection of happiness is not really based on intellectual convic- 
tions, so much as on an illogical, unconscious belief that all happiness 
is wicked. The fact that such people generally feel that sexual gratifica- 
tion is especially reprehensible gives us a clue to the neurotic origin 
of their belief, and in a later chapter I shall indicate briefly how it arises. 


Anatomy of Unhappiness 

started as a doctrine of love towards others, of freedom from 
guilt ('taking away the sins of the world') and of disdain of 
wealth, and which contrived in time to produce the Spanish 
Inquisition, the wars of'religion, the doctrine of original sin, 
Calvinism, and an enormously wealthy property-owning 
church. And we can see it also in the case of socialism, which 
started as a doctrine of universal benevolence, and which in 
Russia, despite the introduction of radically new social insti- 
tutions, has already become an oppressive dictatorship, arousing 
emotions not of love but of fear. 

But the social sciences have also brought us a third and even 
more significant discovery: that certain elements in society 
play a decisive part in determining personality. As a result, it 
is phenomenally difficult, or actually impossible, for us to 
modify our own personality by direct effort. As Freud has shown 
us, a great part of the mind is unconscious, and we cannot alter 
the patterns in it by any conscious effort, short of the laborious 
and uncertain process of psycho-analysis. In addition to this, 
our standards of right behaviour are acquired, to a far greater 
extent than most people realise, from the society into which we 
are born. Very often these standards of right and wrong are 
faulty. Our 'conscience' is not necessarily a reliable guide. So 
we cannot confidently tell how best to modify our personalities, 
even assuming it were in our power to do so. 

Only if we come to understand the whole nexus and direct 
our attack to the point where society and personality meet can 
we hope to achieve any progress. 

Failure to recognise this fact has invalidated all previous 
approaches to the subject. Practically all the classical advice on 
happiness has emphasised either personal reconstruction or 
social reconstruction. Many moralists, from the early church 
down to Bertrand Russell or C. S. Lewis, have advised us to 
seek happiness by altering our behaviour. In contrast, others, 
neglecting the roots of unhappiness in themselves, have hoped 
to mend matters by the institution of a new form of society. 
The secor^d method, being apparently less strenuous for the 
individual, is especially popular today. 
C.H.-~ 2 

Conditions of Happiness 

Both are futile. It is useless to advise people to behave better 
when their actions are determined by social forces : it is no good 
telling the avaricious man that wealth does not bring happiness 
if avarice has been built into his character. Wealth may not 
bring happiness, to be sure, but nothing else will, either. To 
this extent the church is wrong and the communist partly right. 
But equally it is no good trying to build a new society and hoping 
that better-behaved citizens will emerge as an automatic result. 
There the church is right and the communist wrong. 

On this showing, almost all contemporary political and 
ethical endeavour is, in the long run, wasted effort. 

The vital lesson is : progress can only be achieved by attacking 
at the points where society and personality interact. 

That personality and society are but two aspects of a single 
nexus is the main thesis of this book. 

iv Human Needs 

Brilliant as is the modern scientific treatment of the 'psycho- 
social nexus' to give this crucial interrelationship a name 
yet it does not go deep enough. It fails to explain personality 
and society in terms of the same postulates, to show that both 
grow in the same soil. This soil is the full schedule of irreducible 
human needs. Society is a system of devices for helping men 
to meet their needs, and can only be fully understood when we 
are sure what those needs are. By the same token personality 
is the name we give to the assembly of behaviour patterns which 
an individual employs in his efforts to meet his needs. Person- 
alities differ primarily because different individuals find 
different methods rewarding. 

To those who are familiar with only the clinical side of 
psycho-analytical work this will seem a hard saying: surely, they 
will mutter, people employ different methods because their 
personalities differ, and not the other way about. But as so 
often happens in studying the mind, the truth turns out to be 
a paradox. The justification for this assertion will appear in 
Chapter 5. 


Anatomy of Unhappiness 

In other words, it is only when we have a comprehensive 
understanding of human needs that we can hope to come to an 
understanding both of our present frustrations and of what we 
could do about them. 

You will appreciate that when we speak of human needs we 
might equally well speak of conditions. It is no more than a 
difference of verbal formulation whether we say that food is a 
condition of life or whether we say that man needs food in order 
to live. To discuss human needs is to discuss the conditions of 
happiness in the broadest sense. You may object, however, that 
to establish the conditions of happiness is not necessarily to 
guarantee that happiness will manifest. One can wire up an 
electric lamp, and thus establish the conditions for its operation, 
but unless you turn the current on it will not glow. Similarly, 
you may say, I can agree that if a man's vital needs are frus- 
trated he may not be happy. We are hardly likely to be happy 
when dying of thirst or lack of sleep but it doesn't follow that 
we shall be happy when we are rested and fed. Perhaps if all 
our needs are met we shall merely be not-unhappy. 

The validity of this objection depends entirely on how wide 
we make our definition of needs. If, in the case of our electric 
circuit, we had included in the conditions that part of the wiring 
should move through a magnetic field we should have ensured 
that a current would flow through the circuit. And in some 
senses this might be called the vital or operative condition. 
Whether or not the schedule of needs outlined in the chapters 
which follow is complete and includes the operative conditions, 
or whether it merely clears the decks for happiness without 
engaging the battle, can hardly be proved except by experiment. 
Personally, I believe that it is a complete schedule. 

Finally, there is the ticklish question of what we mean by 
happiness. If we can define the conditions in which happiness 
manifests we can arrive at a working definition of happiness, 
just as the physicist obtains a working definition of electricity by 
defining it as the phenomenon which occurs when a conductor 
is moved transversely through a magnetic field. Of course we 
remain ignorant of what happiness is, just as the physicist 


Conditions of Happiness 

remains ignorant of what electricity is but this ignorance 
need not prevent us from achieving it. We do not reject the 
services of the man who mends or who designs, for that 
matter our radio set because he cannot tell us what electricity 
is. Equally we can hope to control the conditions in which 
happiness manifests without knowing what it is. 

Even within these limits we must take notice of a difficulty 
which has nothing to do with happiness as such, but which 
springs from the nature of language : in brief, a difficulty which 
is not psychological but semantic. 

The word happiness can never be defined to everyone's 
satisfaction, even in functional terms, as long as people insist 
on using the word to mean different things at different times. 
For instance, we sometimes use it to refer to quite short 
periods of intense satisfaction (properly called ecstasy) : some- 
times we use it to describe a prolonged period free from major 
worries or discomforts ; sometimes we apply it to the experience 
properly known as joy, and so on. Some people would confine 
it to only one or two of such experiences, while others would 
extend it to cover the lot. 

All these experiences, one immediately notices, are marked 
by the presence of agreeable feelings and the absence of disa- 
greeable ones. So what it really comes to is, we have got to study 
the conditions in which agreeable feelings are generated and 
disagreeable ones prevented. When we have got this clear, we 
can settle the limits of the word happiness in any way which is 
convenient. - 

The point we have reached so far, then, is that we can legiti- 
mately attack the problem of happiness by trying to draw up 
a full schedule of human needs and seeing how far they receive 
satisfaction; and that in so doing we must not confine our 
attention to single individuals, but must constantly bear in mind 
their interrelation with the society they live in. To draw up 
such a schedule of human needs is a considerable task, for there 
is little previous work upon which we can call. We shall have 
to start at the beginning and spend several chapters, justifying 
our conclusions as we go along. But before we start this 


Anatomy of Unhappiness 

undertaking, there are one or two misconceptions which it 
will be worth our while to clear out of the way. 

v What Happiness is Not 

The assertion that we can approach the subject of happiness 
by studying the conditions in which agreeable feelings are 
generated and disagreeable ones minimised does not imply that 
happiness is to be attained by satisfying as many needs as 
possible. There is a hierarchy among men's demands; some are 
absolute, others admit of alternatives, yet others can be wholly 
dispensed with in certain circumstances. Happiness is not the 
answer to a sum in simple addition. 

Neither is it the answer to a multiplication sum. The task 
is not to meet the demands to the fullest extent. As we know 
from the old law of diminishing satisfactions, there comes a 
point in meeting any demand when it is no longer a wise use of 
energy to proceed any further; it is better to switch one's efforts 
to a different field. The delicate interplay of our various needs 
will become clear as we establish a picture of what they are. 

A second source of error arises from the fact that when a man 
cannot obtain what he really wants he will accept a substitute. 
Substitutes, however, are never equal to the real thing in the 
long run and much unhappiness can be traced to the unwitting 
use of substitute satisfactions. In the absence of butter, margar- 
ine provides a very real source of satisfaction : it does not follow 
that we shall be wise to devote our best efforts to increasing 
the supply of margarine. Since this may seem rather obvious, 
it is perhaps worth pointing out that we constantly make this 
mistake in our civilisation. In economic terms, we assume that 
the existence of a 'demand' is good reason for supplying what 
is demanded. We also assume the converse: that we need not 
supply what is not demanded. 

I need hardly add that the use of substitutes is not confined 
to the economic sphere : on the contrary it is the use of substi- 
tutes in the emotional and intellectual spheres which is of chief 
interest in the present context. The childless woman who 


Conditions of Happiness 

lavishes affection on a pet, the routine worker who pits his wits 
against the compiler of crossword puzzles, betray the flaws in 
our society, considered as a milieu for happiness. 

Superficially similar to the use of ^substitutes is the use of 
anaesthetics. When we cannot meet a demand we may seek to 
numb it. Consider the case of the man who, being desperately 
unhappy because some fundamental need is being frustrated, 
takes to drink to numb his misery. Looked at mechanically, 
his action is well chosen to raise his 'happiness-index.' If we 
had an instrument for measuring such a thing, we should 
doubtless detect a distinct improvement after the third or 
fourth glass ! Yet no one but a maniac would regard alcohol as 
a valid cure for his misery. (This, I need hardly add, is not to 
deny the great value of moderate quantities of alcohol in stimu- 
lating social intercourse.) Yet this is precisely the mistake we 
do make in that we consider a demand for whisky an adequate 
reason for satisfying it and make no attempt to uncover the 
frustrations which cause a certain part of it. Still more generally, 
we accept the whole demand for goods, and adapt our civilisa- 
tion to manufacture them, without asking to what extent the 
demand is a synthetic one. 

From challenging hasty assumptions about how to meet 
demands we have gradually been led to challenge assumptions 
about the validity of the demand itself and now we must 
thrust much further in this direction. 

vi Pseudo-Happiness 

Something which obfuscates many attempts to handle the 
subject of happiness in terms of needs is the existence of what 
we may call pseudo-happinesses and unhappinesses; or, more 
scientifically, neurotic needs. 

The miser demands gold for his hoard, the Don Juan a steady 
procession of women, the masochist perpetual ill-treatment or 
humiliation. Can we say that these appetites are needs ? Even 
if psycho-analysis had not exposed their artificial nature, we 
should still suspect them since we notice that the miser's gold 

Anatomy of Unhappiness 

does not bring him happiness, and the Don Juan is not long 
soothed by his conquests. Though the victim of a pseudo-need 
is unhappy when it is frustrated he is scarcely less unhappy 
when it is met. In such a case the road to happiness does not lie 
in meeting the need but in getting rid of it just as the treat- 
ment for the chronic thirst of diabetes insipidus is not a copious 
supply of water but injections of pituitrin aided by a low-salt, 
low-protein diet. 

The moment we recognise the existence of such a thing as 
an invalid demand it dawns on us that a great range of supposed 
needs can be stripped off the human personality and thrown 
away, leaving it may be quite a simple range of primary 
needs on which to build our thesis. This at once recalls to us 
the view so prevalent in eastern cultures that the road to 
happiness is to be found not in satisfying needs but in reducing 
them. Thus the opposing schools of hedonism (satisfaction of 
demands) and stoicism (reduction of demands) are combined 
in a new synthesis. In this way we can meet another, well- 
founded objection to many previous attempts to handle the 
subject of happiness in terms of satisfaction of needs. 

vn Plan of Action 

These considerations dictate the shape of the book. It falls 
into three main divisions. In the first, I propose to try and 
catalogue man's needs and discover the relative importance and 
urgency of each. This leads naturally to a consideration of the 
way in which personality and society limit our attempts to 
satisfy our needs, and to the interactions between them. Having 
thus worked out the mechanics of the problem we can, in the 
second section, apply what we have learned to contemporary 
society in an effort to see why it is unhappy. It will also be 
interesting to apply it to the two great modern alternatives to 
traditional patterns, fascism and communism, and see if they 
stand up any better to our tests. I shall try to show that they 
owe their temporary successes to the fact that they do, in the 
short run, offer a higher standard of happiness than traditional 


Conditions of Happiness 

western society and also why, in the long run, they must 
always fail. Finally, in the last section, I shall try to sketch 
the nature of an ideal society and derive from this some 
practical principles to guide us in out agonising contemporary 

In covering so broad a field within the scope of a single 
manageable volume, it will be necessary to deal briefly with 
many points and sometimes to oversimplify. I have therefore 
included a number of footnotes, not so much to indicate the 
sources from which I have myself drawn (which would require 
a much longer list) but rather to indicate to the reader who may, 
perhaps, be a specialist in one field but ignorant of another, a few 
outstanding books in which he can follow up points he finds 

Let us start, then, on our attempt to analyse human needs. 
As I have already warned you, it will take six chapters. The 
reader who is only interested in the application of this analysis 
to contemporary problems can safely skip to the last section of 
Chapter 7, where he will find the results of the analysis 


I Approach to Happiness II Pain in Physical Sensations 
iv Esthetic Experience V Emotions vi Relative Importance 
vn Nature of Happiness vni Instincts and Drives ix Modifying 


i Approach to Happiness 

ONE might reasonably expect that human needs had long 
since been catalogued and reduced to order, but such is not the 
case. In fact, there is still an extraordinary amount of confusion 
on the subject. Since my main object in this chapter will be to 
discuss the relative importance of different types of needs, we 
shall have first to go to the trouble of arriving at some kind of 

I am going to suggest that these fall into three major groups 
which, for lack of better words, I shall call physical, aesthetic 
and emotional. I must say at once that the word 'emotional' is 
a particularly unsatisfactory label. I propose to deal under this 
head not only with experiences such as love, but with security, 
variety and success in one's enterprises. 

At this point one of my more fractious readers may object 
to any classification in terms like this. I agree, he may say, that 
physical needs are really needs : it is difficult to be happy if one 
is desperately thirsty or short of sleep. But is it true we have 
aesthetic needs? Certainly, aesthetic experience is a possible 
source of happiness, but is it an essential one ? Could we not be 
happy, in our own way, without such experience? 

My reply to this would be to point to emotional needs. At 
one time many people thought that emotional fulfilment was 
'optional/ But the work of psychiatrists has shown quite clearly 
that the person who fails to develop an emotional life is never 


Conditions of Happiness 

really happy, however convincing a front he may put up to the 
world or to himself. It seems to be the case that we literally 
need to fulfil our potentialities. If we fail to do so, we are not 
simply less happy than we might be, tut are actively unhappy 
or distorted in some way. The man who does not fulfil his 
potentialities is not completely a man. 

If this be so, it follows that we must realise our potentialities 
of aesthetic experience as fully as possible, and that if we do not, 
our nature and our pattern of life is bound to be blighted in 
some degree. 

Since people try to satisfy their needs, any study of the 
subject naturally throws light on how people behave or, in a 
word, on the subject of motivation and it is chiefly in this 
connection that psychologists have been interested in the 
matter. Motivation is of interest to us, too, for we need to 
understand why man behaves as he does before we can per- 
suade him to behave in some different way in order to increase 
his chances of happiness. 

So obstinately do people try to satisfy their needs that one 
can justifiably speak, as some writers have chosen to, of drives 
rather than of needs. Thus we can describe hunger equally in 
terms of a need for food or a drive to get food. 

Of course, there are occasions when the drive is inhibited, 
usually in favour of another still more powerful drive. And it 
is also true that these drives do not necessarily succeed, or they 
may succeed only in a very limited way. Our sense of beauty 
may only find expression in a sentimental chromolithograph, 
just as our emotional life may be centred on a Pekingese, or our 
efforts to get food on drawing the dole. 

All drives operate through our ability to feel pleasure or its 
opposite. It is because food and being loved relieve unpleasant 
feelings of hunger and loneliness that we seek to find food and 
love. Having discovered them we find, in most instances, that 
they are sources of positive pleasure as well and from then on 
we seek them to gain pleasure as well as to avoid discomfort. 

But what is pleasure ? Like happiness, it is a word we use far 
from precisely. If we wish to avoid getting in a muddle we shall 


Hierarchy of Needs 

need to clarify what we mean by it and, in fact, the attempt to 
do so will help us to arrive at a classification of needs. 
'Most people use the word pleasure as if it were simply the 
opposite of pain. But, as matter of fact, pain is a very curious 
phenomenon and nothing to do with pleasure at all. 

ii Pain 

To make matters worse, we use the word with equal freedom 
to indicate the crude physical sensation which results from 
stimulus to sensory nerves and also to describe a physical state 
at the aesthetic or emotional level. 1 But we are not entitled to 
assume that all unpleasant sensations are of the same nature as 
physical pain. All the evidence is that pain is a unique pheno- 
menon quite distinct from pleasure and its true opposite. I shall 
therefore follow the general psychological practice of calling the 
opposite of pleasure unpleasure, and reserve the word pain for 
the crude physical experience. 

Physiological research supports this attitude. Pain, it has been 
shown, is conveyed only by certain nerves specialised for the 
purpose. Any stimulus to these nerves is experienced as pain, 
and they cannot in any circumstances convey the sensation of 
pleasure. (With the special case of masochism, in which pain is 
welcomed despite its painfulness, I shall deal in Chapter 4.) 
Quite distinct from the pain nerves are nerve fibres ending in 
organs specialised to respond to heat, light, sound, taste, smell 
and pressure. The sensation conveyed by these nerves may be 
pleasant or unpleasant according to circumstances. 

Why certain nerves should have this distinctive property of 
conveying a sensation which is always disagreeable, no matter 

1 We require a word to indicate operations taking place at the level 
of the psyche : a word which will embrace mental, emotional, spiritual, 
aesthetic and any other experiences which may come under this head. 
Psychic has been pre-empted for the supernatural. Psychological, which 
is often used for this purpose, despite the fact that it is really the 
adjective of the science of psychology rather than of the psyche, has 
come to refer to those specialised patterns which are the field of 
psycho-analysis. I propose to use the word psychical. 


Conditions of Happiness 

what the circumstances, remains a mystery. The answer is not 
to be found in the nature of the nervous impulse, which, as 
Adrian has shown, is of the same type in both pain and sensory 
nerves. 1 Head and Rivers have suggested that the pain nerves 
constitute a separate system developed at an earlier stage in 
evolutionary history and that this simple 'protopathic' system 
was later supplemented by the more subtle and discriminating 
'epicritic' nervous system. 

Head severed two nerves in his arm and noted that awareness 
of pain, and of very marked heat and cold, returned after 
seven weeks. But this awareness was not proportional to the 
stimulus, it was of an all-or-nothing character, and it was not 
localised. Moreover, it produced an abnormally powerful 
emotional effect, similar to the reactions of people with disease 
of the hypothalamus. It was not for a year that normal awareness 
of nervous stimuli returned. In addition there were points on 
his arm, presumably fed by epicritic nerves which had not been 
cut, which retained awareness of the location and nature of a 
prick but without signalling pain. 2 

It should be noted, however, that when Boring, in America, 
and Trotter and Davies, in Britain, repeated this experiment 
they could not fully confirm Head's results, nor did they agree 
among one another. Volunteers for repetitions of this important 
experiment are needed. 

The next step is to consider the pleasant and unpleasant 
sensations conveyed by the epicritic nerves. (Here again we 
must avoid any tendency to assume that all such experiences 
are of the same order. Let us therefore follow the general 
psychological practice of speaking of the hedonic tone of an 
experience : if it is agreeable we shall say that the hedonic tone 
is positive and if disagreeable that it is negative. This- will leave 

1 E. D. Adrian, The Basis of Sensation, 1928. But see later for a 
further suggestion modifying this view. Pain is, nevertheless, a surpris- 
ingly complex and ill-understood phenomenon. See, especially, Adrian, 
The Physical Basis of Perception, 1947. 

8 H. Head and W. H. R. Rivers, *A Human Experiment in Nerve 
Division,' Brain, 1908 (Vol. XXXI, p. 323). 


Hierarchy of Needs 

us free to give an exact meaning to the word pleasure when we feel 
able to do so.) Here again the picture is not as simple as it seems. 

in Physical Sensations 

There is no great difficulty in cataloguing the physical needs 
of man: food, air, water, freedom of movement, etc. But what 
is the common element in all these needs ? 

If we consider a specific instance of sensation, such as warmth 
and cold, we see that the hedonic tone of the experience is 
entirely dependent on something in ourselves. If we are cold 
a moderate degree of heat is pleasant, if we are not it is un- 
pleasant. Even our classification of the experience as hot or cold 
is made solely in relation to our own temperature. Water which 
seems cool to us when we are hot may seem hot to us when we 
are cold. Thus, unlike the case of pain nerves, the message 
conveyed by the epicritic nerves is in itself neutral. 1 

Developing this idea a little further we may say that the body 
has a normal temperature. Heat is experienced as of positive 
hedonic tone when it helps to bring the body nearer the norm 
(as is the case when it is temporarily below it) and as of negative 
hedonic tone when it carries it further away. The only qualifi- 
cation we need add to this is that the rate of change must not 
be too rapid. Note that the unpleasantness consists in our being 
at an abnormal temperature, too hot or too cold, and the 
hedonic quality we ascribe to the temperature of the environ- 
ment should really be ascribed to the change in ourselves. 

Note, also, that there is no positive hedonic tone in being at 
normal temperature : it is only change towards normal tempera- 
ture which is pleasant. It follows that such an experience 
cannot remain pleasant indefinitely, for sooner or later normality 
must be reached. Finally, it is worth observing that the experi- 
ence tends to be very little localised. On a cold day we are 
conscious of a general discomfort and lowering of physical tone, 
and this is far more important to us than any sensation of cold- 
ness at the surface of the skin or in the extremities, closely as 

1 This concept is as old as Plato ; see The Philebus. 

Conditions of Happiness 

these may occupy our attention while our general bodily 
temperature is still high. 

This concept of a distinct type of hedonic experience arising 
from the displacement of the body from a normal state can, 
I suggest, be generalised to include a wide range of sensations. 
The body consists of an elaborate nexus of chemical, physical 
and electrical equilibria, precariously maintained by the supply 
of new material and the removal of waste products as the body 
uses up its resources in growth and action. Whenever the 
supply falls short, whenever waste products are not removed 
and whenever the energy is not utilised in action, a sense of ill- 
being results for which I propose the name discomfort. Corre- 
spondingly, whenever a movement towards normal equilibrium 
takes place an experience of positive hedonic tone is recorded, 
and this I shall call comfort. 

The exact quality of the sensation depends on the particular 
group of equilibria involved. One of the commonest is the 
one we call hunger. Pleasure is experienced as the body 
returns to repletion and if we are unwise enough to continue 
eating past the proper point, the experience becomes disagree- 
able. As before, normality is neutral in tone, it is only move- 
ment towards and away from neutrality which is hedonically 
toned. Similarly failure to remove waste products results in a 
sense of ill-being, whereas normality is not actively agreeable 
but merely neutral on the hedonic scale. This state of 
normality is, however, marked by a powerful sense of physical 
well-being. _ 

This brings us to a new concept of perfect health as the 
maximum of physical well-being instead of merely the absence 
of gross lesions or malfunctions as at present. Owing to our 
unwillingness to recognise discomfort as an experience in its 
own right, we tend to be extraordinarily apathetic about suffering 
it. Few people in a modern population can claim that perfection 
of function which we call perfect physical well-being, and since 
perfect health is an important element in happiness they are by 
so much removed from attaining it. 

It must be emphasised that the normality of the body is a 


Hierarchy of Needs 

dynamic, not a static, concept. The body does not simply 
require to be maintained at a certain temperature. It requires 
to maintain itself. It is an engine consuming fuel and producing 
energy. It maintains the* correct chemical equilibria only by 
a continuous process of feeding material in at one end and drain- 
ing off the products of metabolism at the other. Normality 
consists in the normal performance of these functions. If they 
could be arrested, as by a stop-motion photograph, the result 
would not be normality, even though the relation of the parts 
was absolutely normal. Normality, in fact, is a temporal as well 
as a spatial concept. 

This perhaps explains the satisfaction experienced from the 
mere use of the body so noticeable in growing children, who, 
having learned an action or discovered a potentiality, exercise 
it repeatedly with great delight. And I think it explains the 
satisfaction derived from what one may label titillations, such 
as stroking. The pleasure of being stroked (like the pleasure 
of scents and tastes) cannot be convincingly attributed to a 
nfaiQcooit; or return towards normality. It may, however, be 
partly explained as a mere exercise of function and partly, 
I think, on aesthetic grounds, as we are about to see. 

And all this is equally true of the superphysical functions of the 
body-mind combination. Man requires to exercise his functions 
of feeling, thinking and achieving if he is to attain normality. 

Maybe we should go further, for it is now generally recognised 
that a human being consists of an inseparable combination of 
body and mind, each influencing the other and in turn being 
influenced by it. We must admit, therefore, a concept of 
psychological normality a normality of functioning and 
recognise the existence of a general discomfort, both mental 
and physical, accompanying both mental and physical dys- 

But if the hedonic tone is not conveyed by the nerves, how is 
it experienced ? There seems no alternative but to suppose that 
it is felt as a direct experience of the body-mind combination. We 
have to concede that it is conscious of disturbance of function 
because it is a change in it itself. This, at the moment, is a 


Conditions of Happiness 

strictly unorthodox viewpoint, even though the evidence has 
been pointing in this direction for some time. 1 

So much for comfort and discomfort: now let us consider 
an aesthetic experience. 

iv ^Esthetic Experience 

Let us take the case of a musical chord. A chord consists of 
a number of pure notes ; if the frequencies of these component 
notes are harmonically related, the sensation experienced by a 
listener is pleasant, and if they are not it is unpleasant. Similar 
considerations apply if we consider notes ranged consecutively 
in time. If we play seven notes of the scale, the eighth is expected 
and the substitution of some other note seems hedonically 
negative. Note that the hedonic tone of the experience seems to 
depend not on the stimuli themselves but on their harmonious 
arrangement. If harmonious seems to be a question-begging 
word we can define it in terms of mathematical relation- 

So here again we have a case where the stimulus is neutral, 
and the human being's reaction is pleasant or unpleasant 
according to whether it contributes to his inner harmony 
or not. 

Similar considerations seem to apply to constructions or the 
representations of constructions, which are aesthetically pleas- 
ing when the proportions are harmonious, and to combinations 
of colours. (I* seems necessary to add, however, that aesthetic 
experiences must be related to the total horizon of experience. 
Thus a discord may be permissible and valuable in the course 
of a symphony, just as a bitter ingredient may be of value in 
cooking. More than this, a piece of music, itself charming, may 
be tasteless in a particular human situation, as a waltz at a 
funeral. And, of course, monotonous repetition stales even the 
most delightful experience.) 

Or take the case of touch. A light touch (provided the general 
emotional situation is not unfavourable) is hedonically neutral, 
1 See Adrian, 1947, op. cit. 


Hierarchy of Needs 

but a rhythmic series of light touches stroking or patting is 
generally regarded as pleasant. Here again we find pleasure in 
the harmonious or rhythmic arrangement of hedonically 
neutral stimuli. 

But while these experiences are aesthetically determined, our 
response to them depends on our capacity to appreciate com- 
plex arrangements in space and time. The history of art, 
especially perhaps of music, is one of artists putting forward 
more and more subtle arrangements and the public failing at 
first to find anything pleasing in them. (The orchestra which 
was to give the first performance of Schubert's Ninth Sym- 
phony, the great C Major, refused to continue rehearsals, to 
take but one example.) So that as regards this category, our 
capacity for pleasure and unpleasure is to some extent 
within our power to develop. 

How then are we to describe these experiences? Are they 
simply physical pleasures ? obviously not. It seems that they 
have, as it were, a foot in either camp. They are rooted in gross 
physical stimuli but blossom in the airy medium of the mind. 
I propose, therefore, to call them psycho-physical pleasures 
(or pleasures, for short). Each of them, of course, has its 
counterpart in an unpleasure: the chord is balanced by the 
discord and the perfume by the stink. In short, it looks as if 
aesthetic needs must be counted as a distinct category. 

v Emotions 

Acutest of all sources of pleasure are the emotions. There is 
the bliss of being united with the person one loves and the 
agony of separation; the joy of achievement and the misery 
of frustration ; the bliss of security and the tortures of anxiety 
and guilt. I propose, therefore, to call them miseries and blisses. 

Because they are so important to us, I want to examine and 
classify this group of experiences in some detail. But to do so 
at this point would mean postponing my general conclusion 
about motivation for so many pages that the reader might well 
be excused for losing the thread of the argument. I propose 

C.H. 3 25 

Conditions of Happiness 

therefore, to leave the detailed treatment of this group to the 
next chapter and proceed without further ado to a consideration 
of the relative importance of these categories. 

vi Relative Importance 

Bearing in mind that the various types of motive we have been 
considering rarely exist in isolation, but are abstractions from situ- 
ations which may contain elements of all of them, we can schem- 
atise the factors which influence men's behaviour as follows: 

1. Pain 

2. Comfort/Discomfort (Physical) 

3. Pleasure/Unpleasure (Psycho-physical) 

4. Bliss/Misery (Psychical) 

In practice man makes a deliberate estimate of all these 
factors, weighing one against another, and regulates his behav- 
iour accordingly. However, in so doing he does not regard them 
as exactly equivalent. The discrimination he makes is a little 
difficult to express precisely in non-mathematical terms. To 
simplify the exposition let us speak in broad terms of physical 
and emotional factors. 

Broadly, then, physical factors make a more urgent claim on 
man's attention, but emotional factors provide him with his 
ultimate motives. The mistake people make is to suppose that 
because physical needs are more urgent they are therefore more 
final. They think that because a man will die if he goes without 
food but will not die if he goes without love 1 therefore hunger 
is a more fundamental motive than love. But consider the case 
of a man who, while driving to a concert, finds his petrol tank 
almost empty and stops to fill it, at the cost of missing the 
first few minutes of the performance. We cannot conceivably 

1 As a matter of fact this assertion may not be wholly true. Men may 
contrive to do without normal love but only by employing substituted 
or making neurotic adaptations or taking refuge in psychosis. When a 
person has centred all his emotional life on a single love-object and 
that object (person) is removed by fate, the partner especially if no 
longer young may fail to make an adaptation and will die 'of a broken 
heart.' There are some well-attested instances of this. 


Hierarchy of Needs 

assert that this shows that his desire for petrol is more funda- 
mental than his desire to attend the concert. He only wants the 
petrol as a means towards getting to the concert, and the latter 
is unquestionably his primary motive. So also a lover, looking 
for his beloved, will ignore the claims of hunger and exhaustion 
for a time but will finally stop for food and rest. This does not 
mean that he values food above his beloved, merely that he 
realises he will be unable to succeed in his primary aim, an 
emotional one, unless he first ministers to the physical vehicle 
of his emotions. 

Man's behaviour thus displays a continual dichotomy. He is 
constantly being diverted from his main purpose emotional 
satisfaction to deal with annoying but urgent needs. Pain is 
most effective in distracting him, discomfort less so, and 
unpleasure least. Conversely, the blisses are more rewarding 
than the pleasures, and the pleasures more so than the comforts. 
Thus, to take but a single instance, if it requires an unpleasure 
of strength x to distract a man from a specified pleasure, it will 
require a discomfort of something more than x, or a bliss of 
something less, to achieve the same result. 

Certain minor exceptions to this thesis are well explained by 
Bostock's theory of the neural energy constant. 1 According to 
this theory the amount of energy available to the centres in the 
brain which handle sensation, feeling and cognition is constant, 
so that when any one centre is being fully used the others are 
temporarily in abeyance. It then takes a fairly powerful stimulus 
to reconnect them to the circuit. Thus, when we are listening 
to a concert we remain unaware for some time that we are 
growing stiff or hungry. When this fact finally breaks in on our 
attention it at once reduces the amount of attention we are able 
to give to the conceit. 

We now have in our hands the outline of a theory of motiva- 
tion. We see man engaged in a delicate assessment of the seven 
types of experience open to him, pursuing the more agreeable 
and being distracted by the less agreeable. But unfortunately 

1 See J. Bostock : The Neural Energy Constant: a study of the basis 
of consciousness, 1 93 1 . 


Conditions of Happiness 

there is another complication : he does not respond to them in a 
simple automatic way, like a needle to a magnet. His behaviour 
is dependent on the process by which he learns from experience. 
He can only seek to avoid the experiences he knows to be 
unpleasant, and to attain the experiences he knows to be pleasant. 
As a result he constantly neglects sources of positive feeling 
which he has never tried and mis-spends his energies in pur- 
suing less rewarding goals. He fails to realise his potentialities. 
Thus a man who has never discovered the appeal of good music 
may pass his whole life without benefit of this source of satis- 
faction. Similarly those who have never experienced the ' oceanic 
feeling' are unaware that they are missing anything, although 
those who have done so earnestly strive to repeat the experience. 

Hence one of the errors man frequently makes is to dally 
too long with negative activities. For instance, he inevitably 
devotes much of his time to obtaining food and shelter, a 
course which is at first highly rewarding. He then makes the 
mistake of continuing the same pattern of action, devoting his 
energies to acquiring ever more elaborate food, clothing and 
shelter when he would be better advised to switch the balance 
of his energies into seeking pleasures and blisses. For it is these 
which really matter, and it is the task of realising them which 
will chiefly concern us. 

In fine, man is not, in the full meaning of the term, a 
pleasure-seeking animal. Though he certainly seeks out little bits 
of pleasure with which he is acquainted, he does not move so 
as effectively to maximise his pleasure as a whole. He seeks 
pleasures but not Pleasure. (Here, of course, I am using the 
word in the usual dictionary sense.) It follows that it is vain to 
expect that maximum pleasure will be attained automatically. 
Only by taking pains can we develop the full potentialities for 
happiness which are within us. 

vii Nature of Happiness 

In the light of this analysis, pleasure (using the word in the 
ordinary, vague sense) appears as an evanescent bonus received 


Hierarchy of Needs 

in the course of return to a normal neutral state, departure from 
which was painful. We come, therefore, to the paradoxical 
conclusion that if anyone pursues pleasure with complete 
success he is bound to end up in a state in which pleasure is 
unobtainable, except by the drastic course of deliberately 
abandoning the state and working his way back to it. 

Since, in the nature of things, we are all far removed from 
such a beneficent state of neutrality, we can justifiably pursue 
pleasure, providing that we attach greater value to the high level 
satisfactions than to the lower, and do not let the pursuit of the 
latter hinder us from maximising the former. 

In the light of this analysis, the ancient Platonic controversy 
whether men should, as Philebus claimed, pursue pleasure or 
whether, as Socrates maintained, the Good Life consists of 
neutrality diversified by harmless pleasures, is seen to have been 
no controversy at all. A case could be made against the pursuit 
of pleasure just so far as the speaker conceived pleasure in terms 
of the lower-grade pleasures. On the other hand, in making a 
case for neutrality, the opponent was unwittingly accepting a 
wisely-ordered pursuit of pleasure, since neutrality can only be 
attained by passing through pleasure. In the outcome, Plato's 
solution coincides with the practical possibilities of the situation: 
neutrality as far as possible, with periodic bonuses of pleasure, 
when, in any particular respect, an advance is made towards 
neutrality in spheres where neutrality has not been achieved. 

And so at last we come to the definition of happiness. You 
can, if you choose, define it as the maximisation of pleasure 
as the most rapid progress towards that final neutral state of 
which we have spoken : or you can define it as existence in that 
state. The dictionary definition, *a state of contentment/ tends 
to favour the latter. 

Many present-day attempts to define happiness unhesitat- 
ingly choose the former: for instance, the definition which 
calls it 'the devotion of all one's energies to attaining the best 
possible goal.' But if we are going to define it in terms of 
progress towards something we must cast the net much wider 
than this. We cannot possibly afford to leave out the many forms 


Conditions of Happiness 

of happiness which have nothing to do with achieving goals 
in the ordinary sense of the word : to lie in the sun on a warm 
day, to hear a splendid symphony, or to return home hungry 
and find a satisfying meal. Happiness, cannot be pinned down 
by a single-pointed definition. It comes in many guises. Some 
may be humble and temporary in their effects, to be sure. To 
say that we should not confine our attention to them is not to 
say that we should scorn them altogether. 

But whether we choose a definition in terms of ends or one 
in terms of means makes no difference to our purpose. Since 
the one leads to the other, the conditions of happiness are 
identical for either definition. 

vin Instincts and Drives 

As I have already suggested, the scheme of needs at which we 
have arrived provides us with the basis for a theory of motiva- 
tion. Since it is an unfamiliar one, it may be advisable to com- 
pare it with standard theories and to mention some of the 
complicating factors. 

Most people, I find, still have at the backs of their minds the 
view of motivation put forward nearly half a century ago by 
William McDougall, although it is now regarded as obsolete. 
People say: 'the instinct of self-preservation came to my 
rescue,' or they say: 'it must be her maternal instincts.' The 
idea that people were endowed with quite general urges or 
drives of this kind was started by William McDougall, and he 
most unfortunately called them instincts. He postulated four- 
teen such drives or instincts, such as the instinct of self- 
preservation or flight, the instinct of pugnacity, the instinct of 
repugnance and the protective instinct, the instinct of self- 
assertion and the instinct of self-abasement. Today few psycho- 
logists still believe these drives exist but, even if they do, they 
certainly aren't instincts. We can see why the moment we 
consider a true instinct. 

The characteristic of a true instinct is that it is untaught, 
elaborate, and performed quite blindly. The non-intelligent, 
automatic nature of instinctive behaviour has been shown by 


Hierarchy of Needs 

many experiments. For instance, one of the digger wasps 
buries its egg in a hole, and buries with it a paralysed grass- 
hopper as provender for the offspring when it emerges. After 
dragging the grasshopper to the mouth of the hole, it leaves 
it outside while it enters the hole to make a final inspection. If, 
while it is in the hole, the grasshopper is withdrawn a short 
distance, the wasp, on emerging, drags it up to the mouth of 
the hole again and then repeats the inspection. It can be made 
to repeat this behaviour a number of times. Again, another 
variety of digger wasp always drags the paralysed grasshopper 
by its antennae. If these are cut off it is baffled and makes no 
attempt to drag it by its limbs. 

Numerous cases like these make it clear that the wasp is not 
animated by any generalised instinct to care for its offspring, 
but by a quite specific instinct to perform a series of precisely- 
ordained actions in a certain sequence. Similarly birds are not 
animated merely to build some kind of a nest, but to build a 
quite specific and often very complicated type of nest, varying 
from species to species. And if reared in isolation they are able, 
untaught, to repeat the pattern. 

Having made the distinction between a completely general- 
ised drive and a rigid, automatic sequence of instinctive actions, 
I do not think we need to push the distinction too far. It is the 
insects which display these patterns at their most elaborate; 
when we look at mammals we find behaviour, like nest-building 
or the mating habits of the eel, which, though limited in certain 
respects, also displays a considerable amount of flexibility and 
intelligence. The bird, for instance, can incorporate unusual 
materials in its nest, and does not get stuck half-way through 
if the action doesn't go according to plan. 

Some people, dominated by the idea of the complexity of 
the instincts of insects, have denied that man displays any 
instincts at all. It may be that the adult, with his enormous 
cerebral cortex, has taken over all or almost all the functions 
which are left to instinct, but Claremont has argued convinc- 
ingly that instincts exist in children, and if we admit it in the 
child it would be rash to exclude it too dogmatically in the 


Conditions of Happiness 

adult. 1 Without instinct it is very difficult to explain the insight 
with which children turn their attention to precisely those 
activities which are necessary for their development at the stage 
they have reached. We have to explafti, for instance, why the 
new-born infant turns towards milk, why it sucks, why it 
rejects other foods. And we have to explain why the slightly 
older child practises producing different kinds of sounds, until 
it obtains the full control of its vocal chords needed for speech. 
Later we see children trying to walk, then practising balancing, 
and so on. 

The odd thing about instincts the thing which makes it 
necessary to place them in a section by themselves is that they 
do not act continuously, but rear their heads unexpectedly, 
distorting the normal pattern of behaviour. 

When this happens, the demand of the instinct is so strong 
that it may drive the animal, or person, concerned to fulfil 
the demand even at the cost of severe suffering and frustration 
of the more normal demands. Thus the lemming, driven on its 
periodical migration, plunges into the sea and is drowned. 

This description aptly covers the sexual behaviour of man, 
which arises periodically with such force as to drive him to 
actions which he deeply regrets when the urge has passed, and 
which may damage his chances of happiness for the rest of his 

Since the mechanism by which instincts operate is a complete 
mystery, no one can say whether they should be regarded as 
a special instance of one of the basic types of situation which I 
have described, or as an additional one in their own right. 

One further point : many people use the word instinct when 
they really mean intuition. They say 'I instinctively disliked 
him,' or 'she felt instinctively that we would come.' Now 
intuition, if it exists (though most scientists would scout the 
idea), must certainly be reckoned as a modifier of the thoughts 
and calculations we make about how we shall behave these 
thoughts being in their turn modifiers of our fundamental 
responses to pleasant and unpleasant sensations. 

1 C. A. Claremont, The Innumerable Instincts of Man, 1940. 


Hierarchy of Needs 
ix Modifying Factors 

Orthodox scientists, committed as they are to explaining man 
as a piece of elaborate machinery, place undue weight on 
physiological factors in behaviour, and periodically make the 
claim that these are capable by themselves of accounting for his 
actions. I suggest, however, that the influence of such factors 
extends only to controlling the speed and accuracy of man's 
responses, and does not affect their fundamental nature. 

Such exaggerated claims are most often made for the endo- 
crine glands. 1 There is, perhaps, one case in which the influence 
of the endocrines does seem to come very near to controlling 
the nature, and not merely the strength and speed of response : 
that of the glands which regulate sexuality. But the subject is 
not as simple as it looks. First there is the fact that a reversal 
of bodily sexual characteristics does not always imply a reversal 
of the psychological attitude. 2 Second, the fact that what we 
regard as the attitudes appropriate to each sex are to a large 
extent conventions of the society in which we live. Thus, we, 
in the European culture area (of which North America, 
Australia, etc., are daughters), feel that women should wear 
skirts and that men should do the work. But in many parts of 
the world men wear skirts (e.g. the Scottish Highlands, 
Albania) and in others women do the bulk of the hard labour. 
Margaret Mead has shown in some detail how very largely the 
whole psychological attitude to sex-distinctions is subject to 
social influence and customs. 3 

My own impression is that there are elements of both active 
and passive attitudes in the character of both sexes, and that 
varying physical, psychological and social conditions tend to 
bring out one more than another, at different times. In this way, a 
change in the quantity of one attitude present may cause a change 
in behaviour which appears at first sight as a change in its quality. 

A very similar mechanism is at work in the striking apparent 

1 See, for instance, L. Berman, The Glands Regulating Personality, 

2 A. P. Cawadias, Hermaphrodites, 1943. 

8 M. Mead, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies, 1935. 


Conditions of Happiness 

changes of personality which occur after damage to the cerebral 
cortex after the operation of prefrontal lobotomy, in which 
nerve-paths in the forebrain are cut, and to a lesser extent 
when drugs such as alcohol or sodiumtpentothal are used. These 
all depend on the fact that the outer cloak of the brain, the 
cerebral cortex, 'the seat of reason/ exercises a restraining 
influence on the central part, more particularly the hypothal- 
amus, which is the seat of emotion and desire. 1 If the cortex 
is damaged, or if its action is inhibited by drugs, striking 
changes in the personality result. 

Thus the Lancet of 1942 (Vol. II, p. 717) records the case of 
a successful N.C.O. whose aggressive temperament was 
effectively restrained by army discipline. He received a head 
injury which caused basal atrophy of the frontal lobes and 
became an undisciplined, aggressive character of little value 
either to the army or to society. 2 

Food has also been held to determine character, chiefly on 
the grounds that it affects the endocrines, but also through its 
effects on general metabolism. 8 Here again the effect seems on 
examination to be quantitative rather than qualitative. 

Similar remarks apply to the influence of climate and other 
physiographic factors. 4 

Perhaps the influence most widely thought to determine 
behaviour is heredity. But we must remember that the Mende- 
lian theory of inheritance the theory on which all modern 
genetics is based does not claim to account for the inheritance, 
or apparent inheritance, of psychological characteristics. Its 
scope is confined to physical characteristics, such as body-size, 
skin-colour, and the clotting power of the blood. The only way 
in which it could possibly touch the inheritance of physical 
characteristics would be where they could be shown to be 

1 See, especially, H. R. Grinker's contribution to the Journal of 
Psychosomatic Medicine, Vol. I, No. i. 

2 Quoted by V. H. Mottram, The Physical Basis of Personality, 1944. 
8 E.g. L. Berman, Food and Character, 1933. 

4 See, for instance, S. F. Markham, Climate and the Energy of 
Nations] and for a more general treatment E. Huntington, Civilisation 
and Climate, 1924; Mainsprings of Civilisation, 1945. 


Hierarchy of Needs 

secondary consequences of physical make-up. Thus the thyroid 
type of personality (see below) would seem to be inherited if 
the disposition to have a large thyroid gland were inherited; 
similarly the inheritance Qf a Jewish cast of countenance would 
tend to expose the owners to the same social influence as Jews, 
and this might cause certain similarities in the behaviour of 
successive generations. 

Yet the fact that special dispositions often do seem to run in 
families, in a rather erratic way the musical genius of the Bach 
family is the classic instance suggests that there may possibly 
be principles of psychical inheritance about which we know 
nothing at present. Moreover, we have well-investigated cases of 
twins separated at birth who have grown up not only physically 
but psychically identical displaying the same taste in clothes, 
entering the same trade, marrying the same kind of girl at the 
same time. 1 Some light may be thrown on this mystery by the 
remarkable fact reported by Frances Wickes that children have 
been known to dream dreams reflecting the contents not of their 
own but of their mother's unconscious mind. 2 From this fact, 
which is vouched for by C. G. Jung, it would seem that some 
kind of psychic identity may exist between children and parents, 
which argues that some kind of psychic inheritance may take 

Factors such as these may influence the speed and accuracy 
and even the superficial character of individual responses to 
situations causing pleasure or the reverse, but there is no need 
to suppose that they fundamentally alter its nature. 

There are, however, two other modifying influences which 
are of far greater importance because they do condition the 
nature of our response, and which are still insufficiently under- 
stood. The first of these is the unconscious forces in the human 
mind. Though they have come to exert enormous influence on 

1 H. H. Newman, Twins and Super -Twins, 1942. 

2 F. Wickes, The Inner World of Childhood y 1927. Though this report 
is vouched for by Prof. Jung in his preface to Wickes' book, there has 
never been, so far as I know, any planned attempt to confirm or refute 
this remarkable claim. 


Conditions of Happiness 

certain specialist workers, they are still a closed book, or a much 
misunderstood one, to many of those who think they are capable 
of directing our affairs. The second is the influence on our 
behaviour of the customs and conventions of the society into 
which we are born. Because we are so used to them, we take 
them for granted even when they are quite extraordinary and 
find it very difficult to see them in perspective. It takes a course 
in comparative anthropology to jerk us into seeing them in their 
true light. I shall, later, devote a chapter to each of these 
immensely important factors in human behaviour and try to 
show how far they help, and how far obstruct, our search for 



i Love and Affection n Love and Identification in The 'Oceanic 

Feeling' iv Nature of Emotion v Mastery and Frustration 

vi Creativity vn Consistency and Variety vm Self-Determination 

ix Freud's View x Conclusion 

I Love and Affection 

JUST as man needs material things and the right material 
environment to maintain his physical body so also he needs the 
right emotional environment to maintain his physical life. He 
is a social animal. Provided he has not received such severe 
emotional shocks that he prefers to withdraw from all contact 
with others for fear of more, he welcomes social contact: more 
than this, he hungers after affection and feels the need to bestow 
it also. Failing success in this, he falls ill. Analytical psycholo- 
gists agree that it is problems concerning the receipt and 
bestowal of affection which underlie most, if not all, neurosis. 1 

I am thinking here of all the many forms of favourable 
feeling, ranging from tolerance through approval and affection 
to the deepest love. We have no satisfactory generic term for 
these, except possibly the rather clumsy 'other-regard,' so 
I propose to employ the word love in this general sense. 

We shall be quite safe, therefore, in naming love as one of 
man's fundamental needs. 

Modifying factors frequently disguise the human being's 
innate thirst for affection very often people who have failed 

1 Though they disagree about what affection is. The Freudians, who 
regard it as aim-inhibited sex, naturally express their views in the form : 
neurosis is caused by frustrating the sexual impulse. It is equally 
logical, however, to regard love as the primary phenomenon and sexual 
activity as a channel for its expression. This view, originated by Ian 
Suttie, is followed here. See I. Suttie, Origins of Love and Hate, 1935. 


Conditions of Happiness 

to obtain it react into an attitude of despising it, on the 'sour 
grapes' principle but the case-book of the psycho-analyst 
affords copious evidence of the universality of this demand at 
the deeper levels of the personality. 

By a fortunate chance, people not only feel the need to be 
loved, they also need to bestow love. But for this, our chances 
of obtaining the affection and approval we need would be slim 
indeed. We all know how childless women tend to lavish affec- 
tion on pet animals; how people who have failed to make a 
satisfactory relationship with the other sex find it necessary to 
bestow affection on their own sex, or on themselves; and that 
prisoners in solitary confinement will make friends of birds, 
rats or even toads. 

People adopt devious devices to assuage this need when the 
normal outlets are blocked. They may divert their emotions on 
to a public body or organisation a club, regiment, town or 
country and are more likely to do so if the organisation returns 
their devotion with privileges or marks of honour. Others 
direct their affection onto their deity and, rightly or wrongly, 
believe themselves to be loved in return. Another ingenious 
solution is that known to analysts as narcissism that is, love 
of oneself. Though this would seem to satisfy simultaneously 
the desire to love and the desire to be loved, it does not appear 
in practice to offer a truly satisfactory solution, though it does 
represent a successful adaptation of the kind we call neurotic. 1 

Psycho-analysis has brought out, more especially in its 
application to children, the way in which the ideas of security 
and love are fused. As we shall stress again in the next chapter, 
the infant knows but two states : to be warm, fed and loved on 
the one hand, to be cold, hungry and unloved on the other. 
Hence, when we speak of a desire to be loved we might speak with 
equal justification of a desire for security. Conversely, the desire 
to love is equally a desire to sustain and protect the loved object. 

Love, in this generalised sense of 'other-regard,' appears in 
many guises: paternal, filial, sexual, platonic as well as love of 
God, of country, or of self. I do not think we need suppose that 

1 The nature of neurosis is discussed fully in the next chapter. 


Superphysical Needs 

there is any qualitative difference in the love exhibited. It is 
sufficient if we suppose it coinciding to a greater or lesser degree 
with sexual motives, and limited by socially-defined responsi- 
bilities. Thus the pareat obviously finds more scope for 
exhibiting the protective aspect of love than does the child 
toward the parent. The child must exhibit its protective feelings 
towards dolls or pets. But there is one form of 'other-regard' 
which deserves special mention as I propose to discuss it again 
at a later stage : this is the approval of a group. It is clear that 
men feel a strong desire to win and preserve the approval of the 
people among whom they live, more especially those whom 
they see daily and with whom they have established a social 
relationship. It is true that a very intense personal love may 
swamp the desire for social approval, so that lovers count the 
world well lost for love, but this is exceptional. 

How far this desire for approval is motivated by a deep-lying 
doubt about one's own value is a point to which I shall recur. 
But it seems to be the case that even among peoples singularly 
unmarked by a lack of self-confidence, the desire for public 
approval remains strong. 

"Love is quenched wrath/' said an old mystic, but hate is 
the emotion which we more usually regard as the antonym of 
love. Is hate an emotion in its own right, so that men have a 
'need to hate' just as they have a need to love ? It does not seem 
so. Hate is rather a converted form of love, which appears when 
love is blocked. The sour-grapes principle, by which men reject 
what they cannot obtain, operates consistently in the psycholo- 
gical sphere. Though we do not know why this should be so, 
the conversion of love to hatred is clearly an example of it. 

II Love and Identification 

It is characteristic of the emotion we call love that we wish 
to place ourselves in the closest possible relationship with the 
loved object The small child often tries to incorporate the 
things he loves in himself by the crude but effective process of 
swallowing. In this he only repeats the pattern of his infancy 


Conditions of Happiness 

when he incorporates part of his mother (her milk) in himself 
while flooded with a warm emotion towards her. 

But this attempt to identify the loved object with ourselves 
is not only a physical one. We also make his or her interests and 
well-being our own in fact, since physical incorporation is 
impossible and even proximity can only be spasmodic, the 
psychological part of the operation is the more important. 

Freud has written of a process which is curiously similar 
to this, which he called identification. He observed that small 
children, for instance, modelled themselves on their parents, 
and that people who are in love feel a hurt to the loved one 
almost as painfully as if it were themselves who were hurt. 
Since Freud did not admit the existence of love as a primary 
reality (regarding it as aim-inhibited sex) he confined himself 
to naming the process identification, and leaving it at that. But 
what is the difference? Identification is only a word to label 
the behaviour of people who love. In the next chapter we shall 
be concerned with some of the uses to which Freud put the 
concept, so I want to stress that I regard it simply as a descrip- 
tion and an enlightening one of the nature of the love process. 

Since loving involves this process of identification we feel 
pain when those who are dear to us are hurt and pleasure when 
they feel pleasure. This naturally drastically modifies our 
behaviour, causing us sometimes to seek the good of others 
rather than ourselves, in contradiction to our normal pattern of 
action. Obvious as this must be to the ordinary reader, to the 
behaviourist it is far from obvious. Since he cannot admit the 
existence of love (except as a by-product of action) he is baffled 
by unselfish behaviour, which seems to him contrary to the 
thesis that man pursues his own pleasure. To the ordinary man 
his difficulties will seem strangely artificial. 

It is worth noting, however, that identification is not such a 
perfectly simple process as might appear. As R. G. Coulson has 
pointed out, it can take place in three ways. 1 With emphasis 
on the other person, with emphasis on oneself, or with a 

1 B. J. Reynolds and R. G. Coulson, Human Needs in Modem 
Society, 1938. 


Superphysical Needs 

reasonable balance between the two. The person, often a woman, 
who has completely sunk herself in someone else and lost all 
individuality of her own is a type most people have encountered. 
The opposite extreme, in which other people appear as mere 
appendages of oneself, is common in very young children and 
certain forms of insanity. It seems reasonable to maintain that 
either extreme is equally unproductive of true happiness. 
Orthodox religion, however, has tended to approve complete 
self-abnegation, especially where the loved object is the deity, 
and it may be that this is an exceptional case. 

Coulson maintains that the establishment of a reasonable 
identification on another person is positively essential to full 
happiness. This, I think, we can accept with the qualification 
that people appear to be able to identify themselves with the 
interests of a group a club, a regiment, a society, a church, 
or their country and to feel pride in its successes or anger if 
it is harmed or insulted just as they would with living persons. 
It is noteworthy that when an identification of this sort takes 
place, it does not lead ipso facto to any strong identification 
with individual members, though this may occur, of course, 
in the ordinary way should they come in contact with the 
person concerned. If a club member is insulted, the ardent 
supporter of the club may resent the implied insult to the club 
even when he dislikes the individual and is rather glad to see 
him humiliated. 

This identification with individuals or groups leads to per- 
orming service and it is an interesting question whether people 
have a positive need to serve others, as is sometimes asserted. 
In answering the question we must distinguish between service 
which yields rewards to the server, and which is therefore, not 
strictly speaking, unselfish and complete self-abnegation. 
Obviously, many people serve groups because their service 
gives them status, security, power and purpose. And if this 
were all that service offered, we would have to class it as no 
more than a useful device for achieving personal ends. But the 
true rewards of service arise from the identification: the 
pleasures and successes of the object are felt as pleasures and 

C.H. 4 41 

Conditions of Happiness 

successes by the subject. Thus, to speak of a need to serve is 
no more than to speak of a need to love. 

Where the rewards of identification and service play their 
greatest role is in the case of people jvho can no longer achieve 
direct satisfaction. The man whose health or education limits 
him to a mediocre job may find immense satisfaction in the 
success of his son, the weakly or invalid man in the prowess 
of his athletic friend. Especially for women, who are often 
prevented by the cares of housewifery or by social taboos from 
achieving personal fulfilment, self-realisation through others is 
a heaven-sent alternative. While for those who are leading a 
satisfying personal life, the power of identification with others 
opens up still further opportunities for satisfaction. 

The conclusion which I think we can draw from all this is 
that society must do all it can to help people to achieve personal 
identifications, since these are potentially very rewarding, but 
that it must supplement this by providing plenty of oppor- 
tunities for identification with the interests of groups for the 
benefit of those whom circumstances debar from the personal 
form of service. And it need hardly be added that the purpose 
for which those groups are organised must be a good one it 
must contribute as much as possible to the happiness of as many 
people as possible. 

Those of us who are more luckily situated may regard being 
'wedded to one's work' as we aptly say as a poor substitute 
for more personal relationships, or we may detect a masochistic 
element ii\ so much self-sacrifice. Be that as it may, service 
plays a major part in the attainment of happiness and the 
happiest societies are those which keep this fact in view. 

But Coulson goes further than asserting a need to iden- 
tify. He asserts that the area of identification must be extended 
and extended so as to include more and more people if the 
maximum psychic satisfaction is to be obtained. In his view, 
the process starts, as a rule, with marriage. Just about the time 
that each spouse has exhausted the resources of the other's 
personality children appear on the scene and create new 
opportunities for identification. 


Superphysical Needs 

In a well-designed society, McDougall argued, there will be 
a series of well-graded steps leading up from the family, through 
in-group and clan to the largest unit conceivable by its members. 
As the individual becomes older he will find satisfaction in 
identifying his interests with larger and larger groups until the 
whole tribe or nation is the subject of his emotional life. 

In this, however, he took up a view opposed to that of 
Bergson, who felt that there was a sharp distinction between 
the Closed' morality (as he called it) of loyalty to a limited 
social group and the 'open' morality of universal love. He held 
that the transition from one to the other could not be achieved 
by a gradual widening of the circle but involved a radically 
different mode of feeling. 1 

I am inclined to agree with Bergson. You have only to look 
around you to see that people can scarcely resist establishing 
emotional links with people they see constantly and share 
experiences with, but that they have enormous difficulty in 
feeling any emotion about people whom they have never met. 
Considerable numbers of people in England today do not 
worry in any real sense about the starving populations of Europe 
(about which they hear a good deal) and still fewer worry about 
the state of the Mexican peon or the Malay. And that this is not 
due to a form of patriotic allegiance, or a sense that charity 
begins at home, is shown by the fact that whenever such people 
come in personal contact with cases of suffering their emotions 
are aroused provided they are not among those whose power 
to feel any emotion at all has been aborted by some mishap. 

It is true that by a considerable intellectual effort or by a feat 
of imagination, certain people make themselves aware of the 
plight of others, and feel obliged to act in a broadly humanitarian 
way. This is admirable as far as it goes, but it is not properly 
a case of universal love. The evidence seems to be that universal 
love, when it comes, bursts on one in a sudden revelation a 
blinding awareness of one's identity with all living creatures. 

But I am beginning to anticipate the next section. 

1 H. Bergson, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, Eng. 
trans., 1935. 


Conditions of Happiness 

in The 'Oceanic Feeling' 

There is still one more primary source of satisfaction which 
I think we must recognise, even though it is not always included 
in the psychological textbooks. This is the unique experience 
which Freud recognised under the name of the 'oceanic feeling/ l 
Tennyson's description of it is well known: 

*I have never had any revelations through anaesthetics, but 
a kind of waking trance this for lack of a better word I 
have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have 
been alone. This has come upon me through repeating my 
own name two or three times to myself silently, till all at once, 
as it were out of the intensity of consciousness of individ- 
uality, individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away 
into boundless being, and this is not a confused state, but the 
clearest of the clearest, and the surest of the surest, the 
weirdest of the weirdest, utterly beyond words, where death 
was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality 
(if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life. 
I am ashamed of my feeble description. Have I not said the 
state is utterly beyond words ?' 

The existence of this experience is widely attested. Dr. P. M. 
Bucke has collected a number of instances, including his own 
experience, in the book Cosmic Consciousness, 1901 ; Wordsworth 
refers to it in the 'Lines composed above Tintern Abbey' ; and 
there are numerous references in the literature of Christian 
mysticism^ especially that of St. Augustine and St. John of the 
Cross, to say nothing of material from the Orient. 2 Anthropology 
also bears witness that such states are not uncommon in certain 
cultures which place high value on them and it is also estab- 
lished that certain drugs, also starvation, are of assistance in 
inducing them. 3 So we may imagine that they would be much 
commoner in our culture if it were not our practice to regard 
them with suspicion and repugnance. 

1 S. Freud, Civilisation and its Discontents, 1930. 

2 See Dom Cuthbert Butler, Western Mysticism, 1922, for a review; 
also W. James, Varieties of Religious Experience, 1902. 

8 Notably nitrous oxide and mescal. See H. Kluver, Mescal, 1928. 


Superphysical Needs 

The difficulty in dealing with this phenomenon here is that 
it is generally interpreted in religious terms, as a reunion of the 
individual with the divine spirit, and this raises issues outside 
the field of scientific enquiry. But this is no excuse for ignoring 
it altogether. The phenomenon exists and we must reckon with 
it in our calculations. Ignoring the religious aspect, then, what 
do we know about it as an observed experience ? We must, I am 
sure, avoid the old-fashioned error of dubbing it 'subjective 1 
and disposing of it, classing it along with dreams and appari- 
tions as an illusion. Of course it is subjective: so is our awareness 
of light vibrations as colour or air vibrations as sound. Our whole 
experience is subjective. Imagination is subjective, but we do not 
deny the importance of cultivating it. Equally the oceanic 
feeling is an experience which perhaps we should cultivate, like 
imagination, or avoid, like nightmares, but certainly not dismiss. 
Though in the nature of things we can have no dispassionate or 
objective evidence of such a state yet all observers seem to agree 
on at least two things: that the feeling is one in which the 
bounds of personality dissolve and there is a sense of unity with 
all life and that the feeling is extremely pleasant in fact blissful. 

This experience has also been described as the maximum of 
feeling combined with the maximum of awareness. This 
description must interest the psychologist, who knows that 
feeling and awareness (cognition and orexis) are the two modes 
of functioning of the mind. It suggests that it is a state when the 
mind's potentialities are being realised to the fullest extent. 

The subject is highly speculative, but it seems possible to fit 
the oceanic experience into the same general framework as the 
other effects we have been considering if we view it as a dissolu- 
tion of the boundaries of the personality, so that the individuality 
of the person concerned vanishes, and his being is merged in the 
universal spirit or universal ground. In contrast, simple identi- 
fication, such as is considered in the previous section, must 
consist of a merging of two or more individual personalities, 
so that they become included within a single boundary. 
Formulated like this, the oceanic feeling is seen as a, special type 
of identification an extension of identification to the utmost 


Conditions of Happiness 

limit through identification with the ground from which all 
personalities are derived. As such, it would be an extreme 
manifestation of love, which is how it appears to the Christian 
mystics who write of it. This view vtould then lend support to 
the Bergsonian view of universal love as being due to a develop- 
ment of a somewhat different character from the love of a 
limited group. Yet the distinction may not be so very sharp after 
all. For if we can stretch the boundaries of our ego to include 
more and more of other people, perhaps, like the skin of a 
child's balloon, they will grow thinner and thinner and finally 
burst. In this case Coulson's view is an adequate description 
of one possible way of releasing the imprisoned ego the other 
and quicker being to prick the balloon at an early stage. Thus, 
these opposed theses can be made to meet in a new synthesis. 

Needless to say, such an interpretation involves the assump- 
tion of the real, objective existence of the personal spirit, or 
soul, and of the divine spirit, and cannot be acceptable to those 
scientists who view the personality merely as the sum-total of 
a number of physiological forces and mechanisms. 

I suggest that this phenomenon serves to explain certain 
types of happiness which cannot be explained by reference to 
achievement and to emotional relations with other persons. 
Many writers have described a sense of release and tranquillity 
which comes from the solitary contemplation of nature, and this 
I believe to be simply a milder instance of what Tennyson and 
the professional mystics experienced in acuter form. In addition, 
a rather similar transcendence of personality seems to be 
induced by listening to music and perhaps by other forms of 
artistic experience. 

But our culture, concentrated as it is on the material world, 
condemns such experiences as 'unhealthy 1 and distrusts even 
the milder manifestations just referred to. Few would be 
prepared to accept the suggestion that such states should be 
deliberately cultivated as a source of happiness. If, on the other 
hand, it could be shown that this experience is not 'unhealthy/ 
it would be well worth reorienting the whole of life so as to 
facilitate it, o great are its hedonic rewards. And this, no less, 

Superphysical Needs 

is the proposal made by the religion of yoga the word yoga 
means 'joining' and refers to the joining of the individual with 
the universal spirit. Western mysticism, though using images 
drawn from Catholic theology, draws extraordinarily close to 
oriental mysticism at this point. 1 

If it can be established that the experience does actually 
represent a reunion with a divine spirit, cultivation of the 
experience becomes not merely permissible, but a duty. Failing 
such knowledge, we can at least agree that a temperate use of 
the experience is reasonable and desirable. Our lives should be 
so arranged that we have periodic opportunities for tranquil 
contemplation in environments which favour the development 
of a sense of being (as the phrase so vividly puts it) 'at one with 
the world' that is to say, chiefly in the depths of the country. 

It seems possible that the oceanic experience may differ in one 
important respect from those earthly pleasures we discussed in 
the last chapter. These, we agreed, were generated in the process 
of returning to a state of normality which was itself neutral. 
Mystics seem agreed, however, that the mystical experience 
endures: it is an end-state, not a transitional phenomenon. If 
this be so, it becomes at once an objective beside which all 
others are insignificant and futile. The problem of happiness 
becomes immensely simple. The only relevant questions 
remaining would be : is this experience open to everybody, and 
how rapidly can it be attained ? 

It is, therefore, on the assumption that complete preoccupa- 
tion with mystical experience is not a practicable proposition 
for the majority that this book, which deals only with the 
ordinary psychical pleasures, is written. 

iv Nature of Emotion 

Just as in the case of pleasure, our thinking on the subject of 
,emotion is confused by the loose way in which we use the word* 
The word emotion is used to describe such feelings as joy, 

1 For further parallels see G. Coster, Yoga and Western Psychology, 


Conditions of Happiness 

grief, anger, fear, pride, jealousy, love and hate. But are all 
these indeed the same sort of thing ? Are they like the letters 
of the alphabet, which though each is distinctively recog- 
nisable are all comparable in nature*and function ? 

A little consideration will show that they are not. 

Love, anger and fear, are activities. There is, however, a 
difference between love on the one hand, and anger or fear on 
the other; the latter are responses to certain situations and 
vanish when the situations are resolved. Thus, anger arises 
whenever a programme is obstructed and fear when misfortune 
threatens. In sharp contrast with this, love is an activity engaged 
in as an end in itself. Anger and fear often arise when an attempt 
to consummate love is obstructed; but the reverse does not 
occur. In short, fear and anger are reactions, while love is an action . 1 

Next, let us examine joy and grief. These are descriptions of 
the -two extremes of hedonic tone. Joy is a state of extreme 
pleasure, grief one of extreme unpleasure. We may say they 
are adjectival in nature. To say that men 'need' joy is no more 
than to say that they desire the fulfilment of their physical, 
aesthetic and emotional programmes. 

It is odd, incidentally, that these distinctions did not occur 
to Prof. William James, the great proponent of the Lange 

1 In a classic experiment Watson showed that the infants are capable 
of only three emotions : love, when gratified ; anger, when the move- 
ment of their limbs is obstructed ; and fear when left without support 
or exposed to a loud noise. 

All three art treated, you notice, as reactions to external situations, 
but I have already given reasons for regarding love as something more 
than that : the prisoner who loves a mouse, the mother who loves her 
child, does not love it because of any gratification it has given them. 

Nevertheless, the experiment does raise an interesting point since 
it suggests that fear may be produced automatically and not from a 
conscious evaluation of the dangers of the situation. I do not think that 
this invalidates the treatment outlined here, because, once we accept 
the existence of instinct, it is possible to admit the existence of an 
instinctive or inherited* feeling that certain sensations portend danger 
without denying the possibility of a conscious appreciation of it also. 
In both cases it is a reaction to the situation and not an action. (See 
J. B. Watson, Behaviourism, 2nd ed., 1931.) 

Superphysical Needs 

theory of the emotions. 'This theory, as most people know, 
maintains that what we call an emotion is no more than the 
sum-total of bodily changes which occur in ourselves, in given 
circumstances, as they appear to us. This theory is always 
illustrated with the case of fear. In fearful situations the 
sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenals : adrenalin 
pours into the bloodstream, speeding up the heart, raising 
blood-sugar, inhibiting bowel action and generally preparing 
the organism for flight. In Lange's view it is merely consciousness 
of these changes which we call emotion. If a second instance is 
needed, anger is chosen. But no attempt is made to describe the 
bodily changes corresponding to pride, love and hate, joy and grief. 
If any bodily changes occur, they are small and widely diffused. 

So that even if we accept the James-Lange theory in respect 
of fear and anger, it still does nothing to explain the primary 
emotions love and hate. 

However, recent work has rendered the James-Lange theory 
untenable. Not only do animals from which the sympathetic 
system has been removed continue to show signs of fear and 
anger, but the evidence of encephalography is that emotion is, 
in any case, centred in the mid-brain and not in the cerebral 
cortex at all. 1 Moreover, as Ogden has pointed out, it is a 
commonplace that we sometimes show all the bodily signs of 
fear without experiencing the emotion. Modern observers note 
that no emotion is felt when we are able to respond fully and 
completely to a situation. It is only when response is blocked 
by doubts or conflicts that emotion manifests. 2 

The conclusion to be drawn from these distinctions is that 
love is the only one out of all the so-called emotions which can 
be described as a need. There is no need to hate, no need to fear 
and no need to envy. They are but spontaneous reactions to 
passing situations. But love is an activity, one of the primary 
modes of functioning of the psyche, and as such a potentiality 
of our nature which we must exercise if we are to be fully and 
undistortedly human beings. 

1 H. R. Grinker, Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine (Vol. I, No. i). 
8 C. K. Ogden, The ABC of Psychology, 1929. 


Conditions of Happiness 

But while there are no other emotions which can be regarded 
as primary modes of activity, or needs, yet there are one or two 
other distinctive needs which appear to be quite fundamental, 
and these I must now describe. 

v Mastery and Frustration 

Looking for fundamental characteristics of the living creature, 
we can hardly find one more basic than the urge to do something 
about painful or unpleasant circumstances. Even the amoeba 
know enough to withdraw from heat, acids and electric fields. 
But is this simply a response to an unpleasant situation, or is 
it a drive in its own right ? The view taken here is that it is an 
active drive. Deep in man's muscles and bones lies an itch to 
mould and adapt his environment. This primary drive has been 
called the drive to mastery. 1 

That it is not merely a response to unpleasant situations is 
suggested by the fact that men frequently go out of their way 
to invent situations in which they can strive for mastery, e.g., 
competitive sport. In fact, it is precisely when man is least able 
to master his personal environment that he finds the need to 
devise substitutes. To exercise a function, to fulfil a poten- 
tiality, is a source of pleasure and man needs the opportunity 
of exercising the mastery function preferably on some- 
thing useful, to be sure, but failing this in an artificial 

It is an pbserved fact that when such efforts are frustrated 
an emotion which we call anger is felt and the efforts are 
redoubled. Naturally these efforts are now devoted to removing 
the obstacle which is frustrating the original programme, since 
this is the first step towards attaining the original objective. 
Such intensive efforts to overcome an obstacle, accompanied by 
anger, are generally described as aggression. 

This is an important point. For, since all man's actions are 

1 It is sometimes convenient to distinguish between crude mastery 
in the handling of materials, personal mastery or dominance over 
individuals and abstract mastery over problems and ideas. 


Superphysical Needs 

directed towards modifying the environment, physical or 
psychical, in the face of various difficulties it follows that they 
could all strictly be described as aggressive. In other words, 
aggression is not a specific mode of activity which can, by 
careful management, be eliminated. It is the very essence of our 
being: The only man completely free from aggression is a dead 
man or a man suffering from general paralysis of the insane^ 
Hence it is futile and fatuous to talk, as people do today, about 
'putting an end to aggression.' Not only is it impossible, but 
no one in his senses would want to waste all this valuable 
energy. What we have to do, which is hard enough, is to see 
that it is directed towards useful instead of evil ends. 

We are led into this erroneous approach to aggression by the 
fatal facility of language in giving labels to things which have 
no disparate existence; which are not, so to speak, clinical 
entities. As so often is the case, those who formed the language 
were well aware of the true nature of what they were describing. 
The Latin basis of the word means, of course, 'a step towards' 
and does not, as it does in common speech, imply violence 
or even that the movement is directed towards living 

Aggression, as we shall shortly see in more detail, can readily 
be diverted into substitute activities. Anyone who has worked 
off his anger by violent physical activity wielding an axe or 
a sledge-hammer is particularly effective will recognise the 
truth of this. But what is less generally realised is that this is 
only one aspect of a much broader principle. All forms of self- 
assertion can be converted into one another. Hence a society 
which offers insufficient opportunities for effective mastery of 
raw materials will find that pent-up energy bursting out in 
attempts to master people, i.e. in aggression, in the popular 

There is another aspect of this drive which is of interest. 
The crudest form of mastery is destruction. If you smash 
something, so that it no longer exists as such, you have estab- 
lished your superiority to it. But destruction is not a satisfying 
form of mastery. For one thing, it is too easy. For another, it 


Conditions of Happiness 

tends to make the environment a less and not a more happy 
place to live in. So normal people pass on to constructive forms 
of mastery. Besides making use of what they have constructed, 
they can show it to others and so win approval, thus gaining 
two additional sources of pleasure, neither of which accrue in 
cases of destructive activity. This progress from destruction 
to construction can be marked in children. But when we fail 
at construction we tend to revert to the earlier mode. Our anger 
at failing to attain our objective is released in crude aggression. 
'The hell with it/ we say, and give it a violent kick. 1 

Hence societies where constructive opportunities are few 
tend to find relief in destruction. 

vi Creativity 

The suggestion made so far is that human activity, in so far 
as it is motivated by attempts to reach a certain emotional state, 
is primarily an attempt to secure a loving relationship with 
another individual or individuals. 

As we survey human activities, testing whether they can all 
be fitted into this category or one of those considered earlier 
under the heading of physical sensations (and making due 
allowance for the peculiar transformations of impulse caused 
by the psychological superstructure) we come across one which 
seems to resist our efforts. This is the creative activity of the 

Artistic activity cannot be satisfactorily explained simply as 
an attempt to modify the physical environment, even if some 
arts, such as sculpture or architecture, do include an element 
of mastery. 

The psychologists suggest that the artist is attempting to 

1 It might be thought that the word aggression can fairly be 
distinguished from mastery by restricting its use to the intense, angry 
mastery-impulse which manifests in destruction, as distinct from the 
calm, persistent constructive drive. I cannot agree, for I have seen men 
attack an obstinate constructive problem with a furious determination 
which was quite clearly aggressive in nature. Their spoken comments 
were also eloquently aggressive. 


Superphysical Needs 

dispose of an emotional problem which worries him by exter- 
nalising it. This is, anyway, part of the truth, for artists certainly 
achieve a feeling of release when they have completed their 
work and no longer wish to work over it again (unless it has 
failed in its purpose). But it is not quite enough, for it does not 
account for the universal element in art: its power to appeal to 
people of other places and periods. If the artist were merely 
trying to get rid of his own problem he could make it as 
individual as he liked ; why does he seek for universal elements 
in experience? 

Now another interpretation of art sees it as an attempt to 
introduce a pattern into the apparently chaotic a definition, 
incidentally, which would include a creative theoretical study 
in the field of science. By reducing the aimless confusion of 
life to some sort of order and endowing it with significance, 
the artist ministers to the individual's feeling of isolation and 
lack of security. Though primarily engaged in mastering his 
own problems, the artist produces a solution which is also of 
value to others who lack the time or the technical facilities for 
achieving the same end themselves. Those who hold this view 
would regard artistic activity as at once a subtle therapeutic 
or religious technique and as a subtle form of mastery an 
attempt to make the internal world of one's mind and 
the external world of nature less frightening than they 

Yet this functional explanation overlooks the vital element 
in the process : the aesthetic pleasure induced. A chord in music, 
as we have noted, induces pleasure just because it is harmonious, 
not merely because it persuades us into feeling the universe is 
harmonious. More complex works of art may possibly do this as 
well, but that is not their whole function. 

But even this does not provide us with a satisfying explana- 
tion. If all we wanted from art was harmony, we would be 
perfectly satisfied to listen to or look at art produced by others. 
But it seems that some, if not, indeed, all, people require to 
produce such harmonies themselves. Put more generally, we 
may say that man stands for organisation. Though the energy 


Conditions of Happiness 

with which he organises is derived from the mastery drive, he 
prefers to organise rather than to disorganise, to construct 
rather than to destroy. 

Furthermore, we must not overlook the connection between 
creative activity and sex. While Freud has treated creativity 
as a sublimation of the sexual act, many artists have noted that 
when their creative efforts were frustrated the dammed up 
energy suddenly diverted itself into sexual channels. (Later in 
his life Freud modified his treatment, postulating a generalised 
creative urge which could manifest either at sexual, artistic or 
emotional levels.) 

It would seem, then, that we need to generalise our concept 
of the mastery drive into a broadly creative, organising urge, 
and to interpret artistic activity as a special form of outlet for 
this urge special in that its main purpose is to provide 
aesthetic satisfactions, but also of great value because of its 
therapeutic role and its psychological effects. Whether or not 
this is correct as an analysis, it is certainly true that creative 
activity and aesthetic experience are important sources of pure 
happiness, and no well-designed society can afford to frustrate 
or neglect them. 

To many this may seem an almost insultingly brief and 
arbitrary treatment of an involved and vital subject. The 
difficulty is the absence of any agreed body of opinion about the 
nature of art. This is no place for an excursus on that thorny 
subject, yet I cannot possibly omit all reference to art. My 
excuse must^be this: art is not just an activity among other 
activities, it is an attitude towards all activities. All activities 
involve the combination of various elements in patterns which 
may or may not be harmonious, and to achieve this combination 
gives play to man's creative, organising urge. 

'A theoretical treatment, such as this, taking each factor in 
turn, conceals the fact that each is but an aspect of one reality. 
Just as a scientific theory can legitimately be described as 
beautiful because it organises concepts into a harmonious form, 
so also love can be called beautiful because it is the expression 
of a harmonious relationship. It is, therefore, not word- 


Superphysical Needs 

spinning, but a perfectly accurate and meaningful statement to 
say that truth is beauty, and beauty, love.^ 

vn Consistency and Variety 

So far we have dealt with man's needs 1 at any given moment 
in time; but as soon as we take the time dimension into con- 
sideration we must recognise that he makes a contradictory 
demand : there must be a certain consistency about his environ- 
ment; but, second, there must also be variety. 

The demand for consistency seems to be a product of the 
process by which man learns and as such properly falls to be 
considered in the next chapter: nevertheless, it is more conven- 
ient to take it here. If man finds a certain action rewarding, he 
makes a note of the fact and repeats the action. If, however, it 
sometimes proves rewarding and sometimes painfully unreward- 
ing i.e. if the response is inconsistent he cannot decide what 
to do and an acute form of frustration develops. Experiments 
with rats have shown that serious neurosis can be induced by 
such methods. 2 Child psychologists have also established that 
parents who one day mete out punishment for a certain act 
and another day applaud it cause more frequent and severe 
neurosis than parents who are consistently harsh. 

This is a factor of considerable importance in the western 
world today, for, as we shall see in more detail later, many 
familiar patterns of behaviour have lost their former validity. 
Thus, the workman who first learns that he can ensure the 
necessaries of life by practising a technical skill and subse- 
quently finds his skill useless and himself unemployed, is liable 
to acute frustration and unhappiness, and will end by 

1 It may seem stretching the definition of needs a little to make it 
include something of which man would, presumably, not be aware if 
he had no cerebral cortex. But since we mark the passage of time even 
in our sleep, it may be that our sense of time is something more 
profound than a mere enumeration of memories consciously 

* J. McV. Hunt, Personality and the Behaviour Disorder s t 1944 
(contributions of H. S. Liddell and F. W. Finger). 


Conditions of Happiness 

abandoning all further attempts to cope with his environment. 1 
But while man expects each action to evoke its appropriate 
response, he does not want to be confined to a small number of 
actions. He wants a large number of possible actions, and he 
wants to combine them into ever varying patterns. Thus the 
desire for consistency is not basically inconsistent with the 
desire for variety, though the distinction is not always 

This concludes our catalogue of psychical needs, but perhaps 
one point needs bringing out. The dispassionate nature of our 
analysis may have obscured the fact that these experiences are 
marked by extremely strong hedonic tone. Successful achieve- 
ment, unity with a loved one, perception of harmony, the 
oceanic feeling, are marked by pleasure of such intensity that 
we keep a special word for the sensation : bliss. Correspondingly, 
defeat, loss of a loved one, chaotic disharmony and the sense 
of isolation produce the most intense distress perhaps best 
indicated by the word misery. 

vin Self-Determination 

There is one more point to be made: it is of the utmost 
importance to us in the west today. 

When surveying man's physical needs I emphasised that the 
concept was a dynamic not a static one. We do not simply need 
to be kept in a state of physical equilibrium. We need to keep 
ourselves in. it by a continual process of absorbing material 
from the environment and rejecting what we do not want. Ours 
is the equilibrium of the tightrope-walker (so rightly called, in 
the circus programmes, an 'equilibrist'). The same is true in the 

1 This desire for consistency strongly colours our conception of 
justice. We are much less concerned with the absolute justice of 
regulations than we are with their equitable application. We are much 
more concerned to see that rationing is equal than we are to find out 
whether the ration could be made larger than it is. This attitude was 
unconsciously summed up in Kipling's Stalky and Co., when the boys, 
almost admiringly, characterised their housemaster as 'A beast, but a 
just beast.' 


Superphysical Needs 

psychical sphere. We do not simply need to be given security; 
we need to achieve it for ourselves. We do not need to have the 
universe mastered for us, we need to master it. We do not 
simply need to be loved,, we need to love. 

It follows, therefore, that social patterns of the type it is 
now fashionable to call paternalist are unacceptable. Or, to put 
it in political terms, we need the power of self-determination. 
(I avoid putting the matter in the form 'we need freedom,' 
since freedom is a question-begging word.) 

Another form in which we can usefully put it is that man 
needs responsibility. And that responsibility is of two sorts. 
In the first place he requires to be answerable to himself, at 
the penalty of losing his self-respect. Secondly, he requires to 
be answerable to society at the penalty of losing theirs. And 
both these types of approval he greatly values. At this point 
I shall so far anticipate the development of my argument as 
to say that the only social institution known to me in which 
a man can fulfil all these conditions is a self-governing, 
co-operative group. 

ix Freud's View 

The view of man's motivation which I put forward, then, 
is briefly this. That while his immediate motives are the 
preservation of the physical body (a programme which leads 
him into the pursuit of physical comforts) his ultimate motives 
are at the level of the psyche. But of these there are, when it 
comes to the point, only two: love and creativity. 

The question which naturally arises in the reader's mind is 
how far this view may be said to coincide with the orthodox 
scientific view of the moment. If there is anything which can 
be called an orthodox view at the moment I suppose it is 
Freud's. Professional psychologists (as opposed to psycho- 
analysts) though very reluctant to accept the whole of Freud's 
formulation, have had quietly to jettison all they had to go on 
before, which was the theory of William McDougall, who, as 
I said in the last chapter, tried to explain behaviour in terms of 

C.H.S 57 

Conditions of Happiness 

fourteen arbitrarily postulated drives. Though never officially 
thrown on the dust heap, this theory is no longer felt to hold 
water, and we need waste no time on it here. 

It must be realised that Freud's treatment is much less 
broadly based than the one given here. It started simply as a 
clinical effort to find out what was wrong with certain obviously 
ill people, and led to the concept of libido as a basic drive or 
need. This concept, and the others that he built upon it proved 
so useful that he gradually extended the field to account for 
many facets of human motivation. But he never included 
physical needs in his synthesis because he simply was not 
interested in them. He left them to the doctors. Equally he never 
paid much attention to aesthetic needs, though he tried to fit 
them into his picture by regarding them as special outlets for 
libido, on the lines indicated. 

It is therefore only in regard to love and creativity that we 
can compare Freud's views with those set forth here. In this 
sphere the chief difference is that I have treated love and 
creativity as primary concepts, and sexuality as a channel, one 
of many, through which they can be expressed. Whereas Freud 
treated sexuality as the primary concept, and love and creativity 
as derived or modified forms of it. But Freud steadily broadened 
his concept of libido as he grew older until in the end, after 
he had renamed it Eros, it had taken on a much more general 
form, hardly different from love and creativity as we have 
described them. Only because Freud was dominated by the 
mechanistic views of the psychologists who had preceded him, 
he could neVer take the final step of regarding emotions as 
existing in their own right. Rather than do this he had to invent 
a new, mysterious entity with all the properties of emotion but 
not the name. Freud's original concept of man as motivated 
primarily by the urge to reduce the tension in his seminal 
vesicles was aptly ridiculed by Suttie, who asked sarcastically 
whether he supposed a woman undertook maternity simply to 
relieve the tension in her breasts. 

Suttie boldly completed the transition in Freud's views, 
openly calling the primary motive love and treating the 


Superphysical Needs 

physiological manifestations as of secondary importance. 1 The 
change was subtle but significant. It was because the child loved 
its mother that it wanted to possess her, and not the reverse. 
Adler, however, secedtfd from the Freudian school partly 
because he perceived the importance of mastery-drives, and 
partly because he perceived that the love relationship was not 
confined to single objects but entered into our relations with 
everyone we meet, which led him to formulate his theory of 
social interest. 2 

The present position may be summed up by saying even 
Freudian psychologists treat emotion as if it really existed, 
while denying that it does. Fortunately it is not necessary for 
our purpose to await the solution of this controversy. We can 
treat emotion as if it were a primary cause and it will not affect 
the thesis of the book in any way if it turns out not to be. 

Towards the latter part of his career Freud felt it necessary 
to postulate a second destructive drive as counterpart to the 
first creative one. Only thus could he explain such manifesta- 
tions as sadism, and the perverse delight in destruction which 
many people display. Other psycho-analysts, however, have not 
found this hypothesis necessary. Destruction they see as the 
simplest manifestation of the mastery instinct. To blow up a 
building by touching a button what god-like power ! The 
neurotic patterns, such as sadism, in which Freud saw the action 
of Thanatos, the destructive drive, can also be explained without 
recourse to this assumption, as will be seen in the next chapter. 
The point is important. For if man attains civilised behaviour 
only by suppressing an essential factor in his nature, he is 
bound to do so at the cost of some degree of frustration and 
neurosis. Whereas if his natural demands are positive and 
friendly and if destructive behaviour emerges only when his 
natural demands are frustrated then the possibility remains 
open of creating a normal society in which the friendly feelings 
will have full play and the destructive reactions will not be aroused. 

1 See I. Suttie, Origins of Love and Hate, 1935. This is required 
reading for all Freudians. 

2 See A. Adler, Social Interest, English trans., 1938. 


Conditions of Happiness 
x Conclusion 

To sum up, I suggest that basic human needs are as follows : 
BODY Freedom from pain e 

Health (maintenance of body in normal equilibrium) 

Maintenance of the physical integrity of the body 
MIND Love (active and passive) 


Creativity (purposive activity) 
TIME Security through self-determination 



Presented with any such list of desiderata, it is natural to ask 
why just nine requirements or whatever the number may be. 
Our sense of fitness seems to demand a certain symmetry in the 
array of ultimates. Closer examination of this list will show 
that it has a certain harmony. Each of the postulates is of a 
different order; they are not varieties of the same thing. 

We have but a single motive: the pleasure-principle. Psycho- 
logically, we have but a single source of pleasure : love. We have 
but a single means to this end : creativity, or the mastery drive. 
In order that the mastery drive can function effectively, a single 
condition must be observed : consistency. We have but a single 
mode of experience', change hence our appreciation of pleasure 
must be characterised by change, or in different words, by variety. 

Underlying all this we have the rather tiresome need to 
maintain the. physical organism in an efficient state. 

'Happiness has been defined as performing a task which is 
so difficult as to try your powers, but not so difficult as to 
defeat them. This is the same as saying that happiness is gained 
from the fullest exercise of the mastery drive. But the definition 
is faulty. To exercise mastery with no ulterior purpose is not 
long satisfying. The ultimate purpose of mastery can only be 
(a) to secure the physical pleasures of the body, or (b) to secure 
the psychical pleasures of the mind, i.e., to love and be loved. 
It is in love, therefore, not in mastery, that we find the true 
source of human happiness^ 



I Learning and Mislearning n Non- Valid Behaviour in Origin of 
Neurosis iv Control of Aggression 

I Learning and Mislearning 

JLSYCHO-ANALYSTS, quite naturally, devote the greater part of 
their time to treating people who are psychologically ill 
people whose behaviour and problems are far removed from 
the normal. In consequence many people suppose that analytical 
psychology 1 concerns itself solely with such clinical manifesta- 
tions and may conclude from the title of this chapter that in it 
we shall be concerned solely with the happiness of this unfor- 
tunate minority. 

That is not so. The forces which the analytical psychologist 
studies bear on all of us and affect the formation of our person- 
alities. If he spends the bulk of his time studying those on 
whom the effect has been most marked it is simply because it 
makes his work easier to concentrate on the clear-cut cases. 
There is no hard and fast dividing line between the mentally 
healthy and the neurotic, between the 'normal' and the 
'abnormal.' The difference is only one of degree. 

To study psychology is to learn to understand our own^ 
motives but it is not simply to ensure our own happiness that 
we must do so. The neurotic, in moments of stress, makes not 
only himself, but others unhappy and this is also true in some 
degree of all of us. Which of us can say that we have never, for 
instance, vented ill-temper or frustration by snapping at some 
innocent person ? 

1 The name analytical psychology was taken by Adler and his 
followers to distinguish their teaching from that of Freud, which was 
known as psycho-analysis. I am not, of course, using either of these 
terms in these specialised senses here. 


Conditions of Happiness 

But that is not neurotic, you say. No, but it is a mechanism 
very much within the scope of psychology it is, as a matter of 
fact, an example of a process known to analysts as displacement, 
and one which in certain contexts dm be a very important 
influence on happiness. 

In particular the analytical psychologist has much to tell us 
about those forces which restrain us from anti-social behaviour 
what we commonly call the conscience. These mechanisms, 
though elaborate, do not always achieve their end, while in 
other cases they achieve it at the cost of making the individual 
concerned wretched. Since on the one hand happiness is 
endangered if people behave selfishly while on the other it may 
be destroyed by their efforts to behave unselfishly, it is clear 
that the conscience presents us with a problem of fundamental 
importance to the subject of happiness. 

Psychological mechanisms, as most people now appreciate, 
owe their somewhat mysterious character to the fact that a large 
part of the human psyche is not accessible to consciousness. 
This unconscious part of the mind seems to observe and reason 
in much the same way as the conscious area but less critically 
and with less foresight and sense of proportion, so that its 
decisions when brought to consciousness by special tech- 
niques often seem childish and absurd. But fundamentally the 
mistakes it makes do not differ in type from those made by the 
conscious mind: both are caused by man's defective powers of 
learning. Man may indeed learn from experience but he does 
not always learn correctly. 

If people would only grasp that the business of the profes- 
sional analyst is to discover what lessons have been learned and 
teach his patient to relearn those which have been learned 
incorrectly for to mislearn lessons is a potent cause of 
unhappiness they would perhaps cease regarding analysis with 
the suspicion and fear it too often evokes. 

But where the analyst accepts these wrong lessons and non- 
valid conclusions as a datum and concentrates only on rectifying the 
consequences, for our purposes it is necessary to make a different 
approach. We require to study how lessons come to be mislearned. 


Psychological Superstructure 

We need not go at length into the study of learning-theory, 
a subject which has been complicated by much erroneous 
teaching in the past fifty years: all we need to do is to draw 
attention to certain points. 

The chief process by which adult behaviour becomes 
systematised is the one described by the proverb which says: 
'the burnt child dreads the fire/ It is often supposed that such 
a reaction is quite a simple process, a mere 'conditioned 
reflex' ; but in reality two quite elaborate processes occur. First, 
the child notes the association of two events and infers that they 
are related as cause and effect. Secondly, he generalises this 
discovery in two stages, (a) until he appreciates that all fires 
burn, and (b) until he appreciates that they burn not only 
himself but other people. (This is proved by the fact that a 
small child, though it will withdraw its hand if burnt, will 
repeat the mistake soon after.) Either part of the learning 
process is liable to error and may lead to the learning of an 
incorrect lesson. If this occurs, the plans which the individual 
formulates with the object of attaining pleasure or avoiding 
unpleasure will tend to be ineffective. 1 

Let us consider a particular instance. 

1 Though sufficient for our present purpose, this statement is 
perhaps somewhat misleading, since it might be taken to suggest that 
learning is performed by adding together a great number of such 
individual lessons. This old view of the learning process has been quite 
exploded by the gestalt psychologists who have shown very clearly that 
all human beings, and even the higher animals, start by appreciating 
the situation as a whole and only learn individual lessons within the 
general context. To illustrate the distinction quickly and crudely we 
may say that if the child was burnt by the mother, or even merely in 
her presence, it would not merely record a scientific fact about the 
properties of flame, but would almost certainly learn some distrust and 
fear of the mother, and would associate the experience with the room 
in which it took place or with any other fact which had captured its 

The reader anxious to follow up the ramifications of modern learning- 
theory should certainly read some book like K. Koffka's The Growth 
of the Mind, 1924; though often regarded as a textbook of gestalt 
psychology it gives an admirably-balanced outline of preceding 
theories of learning. 


Conditions of Happiness 
ii Non- Valid Behaviour 

Let us suppose that a man eats mushrooms for the first time 
and is taken seriously ill soon after. Almost certainly he will 
draw an inference 'My illness was caused by the mushrooms' 
and then generalise it, perhaps in the form: 'I am allergic to 
mushrooms' but more probably: 'Mushrooms are poisonous/ 
Thereafter he will avoid mushrooms like the devil. In short, 
a lifelong pattern of behaviour may quite possibly be established 
as the result of a single experience. 

Now let us suppose that his illness was a pure coincidence, 
and had nothing to do with the mushrooms at all. Since for the 
rest of his life he will avoid eating mushrooms he may never 
discover his mistake. How are we to describe his behaviour in 
such a case? It is not correct to call it irrational; it is, rather, 
strictly rational behaviour with an error in the reasoning. The 
pattern of behaviour which results is out of harmony with reality. 
I propose to call this non-valid behaviour, because it is based on 
a non-valid generalisation. 

In practice such non-valid conclusions are generally exposed 
as erroneous by other people. The man who avoids mushrooms 
sees other people eating them with impunity. Even so, he may 
yet fall back on the hypothesis that he is allergic to mushrooms 
rather than take the risk of another painful illness. Suppose, 
however, that he does take the risk of eating some and again, 
through an unfortunate coincidence, he falls ill. This will 
confirm his -belief and it is extremely unlikely that he will ever 
be induced to try them again, however convincing the arguments 
of his friends. 

In short, we learn our lessons almost too well. If fate is so 
unkind as to mislead us twice or three times on the same 
matter, our pattern of behaviour gets fixed for life, on non- 
valid lines. 

It will be appreciated that the crucial point in this story was 
that the man was eating mushrooms for the first time. It is first 
experiences which are definitive, because we have no contradic- 
tory experience to offset them. Hence it is the lessons of earliest 

Psychological Superstructure 

childhood which are of dominant importance. The very small 
child, or infant, is in a particularly vulnerable position. He does 
not even have experience in analogous fields by which to test 
any specially important experience and he cannot discuss his 
profounder experiences with others for lack of vocabulary. 
Quite definitely, experiences in our earlier infancy condition our 
behaviour for the rest of our lives. They impel us to irrational 
behaviour and beliefs, and they do it to an extent far greater 
than the layman is ready to visualise. To the infant's case we 
shall return in due course, but first let us proceed with the 
subject of learning. 

This tendency to 'fix' behaviour is noticeable even in a simple 
case such as the one we have just considered, where the truth 
is not difficult to establish and where the whole process is fully 
conscious. Obviously such non-valid generalisations are still 
easier to make on matters which are hard to establish, or difficult 
to discuss. For instance, a person will readily conclude that 
someone is untrustworthy on the basis of a couple of experiences. 
Since trustworthiness is a relative concept, and since it is unwise 
to discuss the matter except with intimate friends, non-valid 
opinions of this type are very common. 

How much more so, then, when the memory of the formative 
experience is repressed ! If the man in our first instance had 
repressed the memory of his illness, he would be left only with 
a vague, unlocalised distrust of mushrooms. Since people do 
not like to feel that their opinions are irrational, they tend to 
invent plausible explanations which they come to believe 
themselves ('rationalisations'). Thus a distrust of mushrooms 
might be rationalised by the assertion that it was unlucky, 
impious or barbaric to eat mushrooms. Since such beliefs would 
be taught to children, and uncritically adopted, they would tend 
to be perpetuated: so we can see how a taboo is born. A taboo 
is simply a rule of behaviour for which the real reason valid 
or non-valid has been forgotten or was never known. A 
familiar instance is the taboo on walking under ladders which 
protects you from having something dropped on your head. 

I have gone into this matter of non-valid behaviour rather 


Conditions of Happiness 

carefully in order to drive home the fact that such behaviour is 
not just a peculiarity of 'neurotics,' a product of diseased 
minds, but something which affects all of us. 

Since the most obstinate forms of such behaviour are those 
in which the causative factors are repressed, we must now ask 
ourselves the question: in what circumstances does repression 
take place? The matter is too momentous for a hasty answer. 
We must therefore interrupt our line of argument for a few 
pages while we clarify this subject. 

in Origin of Neurosis 

Human beings and let us never forget that we are not 
talking about something impersonal, like the scientists' rats and 
guinea-pigs, but about ourselves feel the emotion of love 
towards those who afford them pleasure, and of anger and hatred 
towards those who frustrate and frighten them. Now it often 
happens that we simultaneously feel both emotions towards one 
and the same person. The child may, in general, love its 
mother, but it feels anger and hatred when she punishes it or 
forbids it to do what it wants. The wife may love her husband, 
yet hate him if he does not live up to her conception of him. 
When such a conflict of emotions arises, the individual may 
manage to keep the two emotions intact. When the cliff of 
affection is strong the wave of hatred smashes against it and 
subsides. But when love and hatred are evenly matched the 
person concerned is torn between two courses of conduct, both 
painful. The child of cruel parents has a powerful motive for 
leaving them : but it knows it is dependent on their support and 
would get into serious difficulties if it did so. Such conflicts 
are biologically dangerous because they lead to indecision. 

In such circumstances the ego generally deals with the 
situation by suppressing the inconvenient emotion. This 
simplifies the conscious life of the individual, who is no longer 
in a dilemma, and relieves him of the worst of his mental conflict. 1 

1 Possibly this is only a particular case of a tendency to repress, 
i.e., forget, any unpleasant experience. 


Psychological Superstructure 

But the adjustment is not achieved without cost. For 
such suppressed hatred gives rise to a diffuse anxiety and unease. 
This is so unpleasant that it generally involves the ego in 
further attempts at adjustment often of a very complex kind. 
Let us note, before passing on, that this unease is a primary 
source of unhappiness and one of a most intractable description. 

Thus far we have what has been called a situation neurosis. 
It persists only as long as the external situation persists. And 
even while the causative situation still operates it can generally 
be cured by helping the patient to understand the nature of 
the conflict within his mind. Once the conflict can be seen 
objectively, it can be handled rationally. The wiser course can 
be chosen and the disadvantages written off. 

In illustration of this Horney relates the case of a young 
woman happily married to a somewhat older husband who 
finally became impotent. When approached by a young man 
friend, the woman developed headaches and depression. 
Analysis showed that she was torn between her loyalty to her 
husband and family whom she did not want to harm or lose, 
and her natural sexual desires. When she came to realise the 
nature of her problem she was able to settle it rationally, and 
the neurasthenic symptoms vanished. 

But it is also possible that such an emotional conflict may be 
generated by an experience which (for reasons which may or 
may not be valid) is going to fix a pattern of behaviour in the 
manner considered in the previous section. An example may 
make this clearer. In a case which recently came to my atten- 
tion, a man fell ill and his wife had to go out to work; in conse- 
quence she was forced to leave her two-year-old boy alone for 
long periods. The child, feeling it had been deserted by its 
mother, formed a non-valid behaviour pattern which we may 
call 'distrust of all women/ That was the quasi-rational side 
of the experience. The emotional side was that it felt hatred 
for its mother and this hatred conflicted with its natural love. 
The hatred was suppressed and ultimately the whole incident 
forgotten. It was therefore impossible for the child concerned 
to break up the pattern of distrust by logical means, for he did 


Conditions of Happiness 

not know its cause. Naturally, he rationalised his distrust as 
far as possible. Inevitably, the neurotic pattern became a 
permanent component of his character, and in his adult life 
he was quite unable to establish arfy satisfactory relationships 
with women. Notice the characteristic feature of such behaviour: 
its persistence. Whenever the stimulus is presented (in this 
case, the presence of women) the same reaction (avoidance) is 
produced. This rigidity is typical of neurosis and lines up with 
such manifestations as agoraphobia and, indeed, all 'compul- 
sive' activities. In short, a non-valid pattern has been established 
and the victim continually repeats the same mistake. 

Secondly, notice that the reaction though consistent with 
the demand for happiness does not yield it. The man avoids 
women because their presence makes him uneasy, yet, owing 
to his biological needs, he is not happy without women. He is 
trapped in a quandary. This is characteristic of neurosis. It 
defeats the demand for happiness by creating opposing and 
contradictory demands. This explains part of the mysterious- 
ness of happiness. 

Here, then, is the second way in which the psychological 
superstructure of man's mind can become a barrier to happiness. 
It can lead people into behaviour which, in the long run, is 
detrimental to happiness : into desires and avoidances which are 
based on non-valid conclusions. 

This picture can be extended to explain such diverse types 
of behaviour as sadism, masochism, sexual perversion, all 
compulsive behaviour and many types of delinquency, as well 
as self-indufced illness of the type we call hysterical, although 
it may not be marked by the loss of control which corresponds 
to the popular use of the word hysterics. In some of these cases 
the mechanism is pretty complicated and the original non-valid 
argument may take a wide variety of forms. For our present 
purpose we need not explore these variations on the theme. All 
of them constitute character neurosis, as opposed to situation 
neurosis: and it is character neurosis which is generally meant 
when the word neurosis is used alone. 

Since the word neurosis is often used carelessly, perhaps we 


Psychological Superstructure 

should define precisely what we mean by it. Following Horney, 
we may say that it is being constrained to follow a pattern of 
behaviour which is rigid and non-valid^ By this we mean that 
all situations of a certain general type are met with the same 
attitude or behaviour, regardless of their true merits. This 
definition of neurosis covers a much wider field than in the 
popular use of the term. Many people who would not hesitate 
to describe Hitler as a neurotic would never think of applying 
the term to Himmler. But the sadist's pattern of impassive 
cruelty is just as rigid and non-valid as the emotionalism of the 
hysteric. Indeed, we are all to some extent neurotic. No one is 
completely free of repressed emotion, no one can entirely avoid 
learning a few non-valid lessons. Neurosis is a matter of degree. 
Hence the subject matter of this chapter is significant not 
merely for a few pathological individuals but for all of us. 

More than that, it is not only those who have dealt with a 
conflict by repression who are guilty of non-valid behaviour. 
As I sought to show with the story of the mushrooms, mere 
coincidence may establish patterns of non-valid behaviour. 
Neurotic behaviour is only a special instance of this in which 
the error is abnormally difficult to expose because part of the 
material has been repressed. 

The case of mushroom-eating is a very limited one. But a 
man might just as well be so unfortunate as to fail in a number 

1 This treatment of neurosis is drawn from the newer American 
analytical psychologists as exemplified in K. Horney's The Neurotic 
Personality of Our Time, 1935, an d subsequent works. The difference 
from the Freudian view proves, on examination, to be chiefly one of 
emphasis. Freud sees neurosis as the consequence of repressing a basic 
drive, in his vocabulary the sexual or libidinal drive. But such repres- 
sion, he agrees, takes place only because this drive is in conflict with 
socially or personally approved behaviour patterns. Thus Freud does 
not deny that repression is caused by conflict ; he merely puts his chief 
emphasis on the word sex or libido. But he uses this word in such a 
broad sense as to include almost every conceivable variety of conflict, 
so that he approximates to the Horneyan view. It is, in the outcome, 
simply a question of whether the libidinal aspect or the conflict aspect 
is most fruitful in the context which, on any occasion, is under 

Conditions of Happiness 

of bold enterprises and conclude that boldness was too risky, 
where another more fortunate man might come to the reverse 

One of the morals we can draw from this discussion is that 
we can no longer discuss happiness solely in terms of satisfying 
needs; where the need is neurotic or based on non-valid 
conclusions, the proper course is to eliminate the 'need* by 
resolving the error. We are not called upon to provide a society 
in which the sadist can practise his cruelties nor one in which 
the anxiety-ridden individual can attempt to find security by 
accumulating wealth or power. It is not hard to accept this 
declaration while we are thinking of notoriously anti-social 
needs such as sadism or the lust for power. What is more 
difficult is to apply it to the numerous relatively harmless 
patterns of behaviour which are marked by rigidity and non- 
validity. How many of our hobbies and enthusiasms would be 
left if all neurosis could be dissolved is a question of almost 
frightening magnitude. 

Incidentally, it follows also that the economists' assumption 
that man is a rational animal, and hence that it is proper for 
industry to try and satisfy any demand which men are prepared 
to express in terms of money, is wholly without justification. 

IV Control of Aggression 

I have talked of repressing conflicting emotions but the 
possible varieties of conflict are very limited. Since, basically, 
there are only two sorts of emotion, positive and negative, 
love and hate, all such conflicts must either be clashes between 
rival loves and rival hates or between love and hate. The case 
just described, of the woman torn between her young lover and 
her impotent husband, would be a case of rival loves, but much 
the commonest combination is the clash between love and hate. 

When such a clash occurs, the usual Solution is repression of 
the hatred. Every one of us constantly has occasion to choke 
down angry or bitter words and to inhibit the aggressive actions 
which hatred inspires. Why do we do this? Ninety-nine times 


Psychological Superstructure 

out of a hundred because we wish to retain the goodwill of the 
person who has angered us. 

But in addition to these crude instances of simple aggression 
aroused by short-lived contemporary situations, we also have 
more serious ones in which the conflict is acute and in which the 
aggressive feelings give rise to painful feelings of guilt or fear. 
This is especially frequent in early childhood, and in such cases 
the aggressive feelings are not only suppressed but repressed, 
in the technical sense. Such repressed aggression cannot be 
dissipated but comes to form a permanent part of the person- 
ality and dominate the individual's behaviour. This repressed 
aggression is at the bottom of many social problems. It may 
occasionally happen that a man represses his desire for love 
in order to be free to hate, and then we have the misogynist; 
but undoubtedly the commonest outcome of such a conflict 
is repression of hatred. 

The person who carries a burden of repressed aggression (of 
which he is not consciously aware) seeks to discharge it in one 
of two ways. Either he displaces it on to some innocent victim 
or he turns it against himself. To the practice of introjecting 
aggression I shall recur in a few pages when considering guilt 
and the super-ego. Displacement of aggression is a familiar 
phenomenon. Just as the man who has had an unmerited rebuke 
from his employer is liable to snap at his secretary or kick the 
cat. Similarly, on a larger scale, people may displace their 
permanent repressed aggression on to innocent parties. A child 
may displace all the hatred it feels for its father on to an uncle 
so as to be able to love the father without reservation. 

It is this dislike of entertaining conflicting emotions which 
impels us to divide the world into good people and bad people, 
friends and enemies. It accounts for the hero and the villain 
of drama (in real life people are seldom wholly good or wholly 
bad) and contributes to the concepts of Good and Evil, God 
and Devil. 

Accordingly, the relations of a group become more harmon- 
ious whenever their feelings of hatred can be displaced on to 
some outside enemy. This is what happens in war-time, and is 

Conditions of Happiness 

one reason why people within a belligerent nation behave more 
friendly to one another. This fact was once exploited in a satire 
in which peace was brought to the peoples of the earth by 
encouraging them to hate a fictitious race of villains on the moon. 
But it is essential that the displacement shall take place in 
some socially-acceptable direction. Before the war the Germans 
achieved enhanced unity by displacing much of their aggression 
on to the Jews, but this was hardly very satisfactory for the 
latter. On the other hand aggression directed to the defeat 
of social problems serves a useful purpose. Bad temper can be 
worked off by chopping up firewood, or more subtly by solving 
a mathematical or administrative problem. At present much 
aggression is displaced into business competition, which, at 
least, is preferable to physical violence against individuals, even 
if it is only sometimes constructive in its results. 

To sum up, it is necessary to face the fact that there is no 
wholly reliable method of handling (repressed) aggression: 
the only satisfactory solution is to prevent its formation in the 
first place. If formed, it is better to discharge it in some socially 
acceptable way than to repress it. Repression, it must be 
remembered, only takes place when love and hatred are evenly 
matched. When one has a big margin over the other the conflict 
can be settled on the conscious level. Accordingly, if we cannot 
deal with the problem by reducing hatred, we can always deal 
with it by strengthening the positive factor the capacity for 

Unfortunately, in western society, there are taboos on 
discussing love and the subject arouses a feeling of embarrass- 
ment. 1 The work of many writers on aggression is vitiated by 
their failure to understand this fact, and by failure to under- 
stand the social factors in the control of aggression. 

Any worthwhile scheme for increasing happiness must include 
effective techniques for handling aggression, and especially 
repressed aggression. The first step, perhaps, is to bring about 
a wider recognition of its existence, so that people will come to 
suspect their irrational animosities and realise that they need 
1 The * taboo on tenderness* will be discussed further in Chapter V. 


Psychological Superstructure 

treatment; the second is curative treatment at an early age, 
before the personality has become too rigidly set in this mould. 
And we may hope that with wider recognition parents, employ- 
ers, statesmen, and all others who have the opportunity will 
often find themselves able to direct undischarged aggression into 
socially useful fields into wars against cruelty, ignorance and 
disease, instead of wars against other nations or the persecution 
of individuals. 

C.H. 6 73 


I The Infant Learns n Parent Identification in Guilt and Its 

Origins iv Regulating Behaviour v Super-Ego Formation 

vi Ideal Pictures vn Conclusion 

I The Infant Learns 

/Ys I said at the time, the crucial point in our story of the man 
who was ill after eating mushrooms, was that he was eating 
them for the first time. It is first experiences which are definitive, 
because we have no contradictory experiences to offset them 
and naturally first experiences occur most often in childhood, 
indeed, in infancy. Hence it is the lessons of earliest childhood 
which most commonly tend to mould our character by estab- 
lishing rigid behaviour patterns. In his total ignorance, the very 
small child, or infant, is in a painfully vulnerable position. There 
can no longer be any doubt that many aspects of adult behaviour 
which we normally regard as haphazard, unassailable elements of 
human nature, are, in fact, created by these infantile experiences. 

Now while to some extent the experience of every individual 
is unique, there are also large areas of common experience. 
Every child is born, is weaned, is house- trained. The shocks 
which these processes administer inject a common element into 
every mind, although with varying force. 

About the effects of birth we know little, but of the subsequent 
experiences and their consequences we can say something. 1 
First let us try and visualise the state of mind of a new-born 

1 But see O. Rank's The Trauma of Birth, 1929, for an attempt to 
formulate a view. If he is right we should expect to find a difference of 
personality in those delivered by Csesarean section as compared with 
those born normally. 


Personality Formation 

The baby has no memory records and therefore no time- 
sense. If an agreeable sensation ceases, as far as the baby is 
concerned it has ceased for ever. The fact that it may return 
does not occur to it. Equally, if it perceives an unpleasant 
sensation, it has no reason to suppose it will stop. It lives for 
the moment: if that moment is unpleasant it is as much a 
disaster as an eternity of hell. The sensations which the baby 
perceives are almost wholly through its tactile nerves, more 
especially its mouth. It cannot focus its eyes, and its other senses 
are equally imperfect. It is therefore unaware of its mother as 
an individual: it knows only itself and a crowd of incoming 
sensations from something which is not itself. Hence all 
unpleasant experiences are alarming and arbitrary in the highest 

Broadly speaking, there are for the baby two states of affairs. 
One in which it is warm, replete, secure, loved; another in 
which it is cold, hungry, and abandoned. To receive love, to 
receive milk, to be secure, are fused into a single agreeable 
pattern; and so are the complementary experiences. And so, for 
ever after, to be short of food implies to be insecure and un- 
wanted; and from this it is easy to proceed to the illogical 
(unconscious) conclusion that the way to deal with a sense of 
insecurity (in reality due to being unloved) is to acquire 
physical property, especially food. 1 Conversely poverty is felt 
as insecurity. 

The importance to babies and small children of affection, as 
distinct from care, is supported by a mass of evidence. Children 
separated from their parents for prolonged periods in the first 
years of their life almost invariably sustain permanent psycho- 
logical scars. The commonest reaction seems to be a determina- 
tion to do without affection, producing the so-called 'affectionless 
character/ Where this is combined with a desire for revenge 
against society (or some similar motive) it often leads to criminal 
or ruthless anti-social behaviour. Psychologists have established 

1 See M. Klein and J. Riviere, Love, Hate and Reparation, 1937. 
This mechanism is behind some cases of persistent greediness, as with 
German refugee children taken to America before the war. 


Conditions of Happiness 

a strong connection between thieving and early disturbances 
of the child's affective life, the thieving being at once a symbolic 
attempt to secure the good things which it has missed and a way 
of revenging itself on society for not providing them. 1 Where 
parents display hatred, not affection, towards their children 
equally serious results are likely, though they may work out 
in a more complicated way. Especially is this true where parents 
are alternately neglectful and affectionate, or where one parent is 
affectionate but not the other. 

The orthodox Freudian view, now obsolete, was that the 
child's real demand was for food, warmth and physical protec- 
tion ; that the emotional demand was no more than a sublima- 
tion of the physical demand. But the fact that children well- 
cared for in hospitals and homes frequently develop these 
psychological symptoms confirms the belief that it is the 
emotion itself which is of primary importance. 

Indeed, deprivation of affection may threaten not merely 
mental health, but life itself. Well-run institutions for small 
children tend to have a death rate markedly higher than that 
for children brought up in quite insanitary conditions under thettr 
mothers' care, and Ferenczi has gone so far as to say: 'Children 
who are not loved don't live.' 2 

To be sure, owing to the child's tendency to interpret a 
failure of physical care as due to loss of affection, deprivation 
of care especially of food is extremely important and we must 
now proceed to consider the effects of an interruption or 
uncertainty in the supply of food (milk): in the technical jargon, 
oral frustration. 

i. Oral frustrations. The baby's first major painful experience 
after birth is likely to be finding itself hungry, and ipso facto 
insecure and unloved. Unless the mother is constantly with it, 
and is ready at any time to feed it this is almost certain to occur. 
In many savage tribes, the mother is always with it, and is 
always ready to feed it, but in the west we impose on the infant 
rigid feeding schedules, largely to suit our own convenience. 

1 See John Bowlby, Forty-four Juvenile Thieves, 1946. 

2 Quoted in R. Linton, The Cultural Background of Personality 1 1947. 

Personality Formation 

Since the baby cannot comprehend that the deprivation is only 
temporary and that it has only to wait to be satisfied, the 
frustration is felt as an all-absorbing disaster in its little world. 
It is interpreted as a permanent loss of security and affection. 

This experience is repeated still more intensely when it is 
weaned. If it is allowed to take the breast whenever it wishes 
and is only offered other nutriment as an optional alternative, 
and if it is allowed to return to the breast when it wishes at 
any age as happens in some primitive societies no frustration 
will occur. But if it is weaned more rapidly than this, as it usually 
is in modern society, it is bound to record the experience as 
alarming and painful. 

It has been established quite definitely that these infantile 
experiences, which seem to us adults so trivial, but which to the 
child are catastrophic, do actually cause marked, permanent 
changes in the personality. Parents who subject their children to 
oral frustration imbue them with ineradicable feelings of 
insecurity and lack of confidence, and these signs are lacking 
in societies which avoid this error. (I have to put the conse- 
quences of oral frustration rather vaguely at this point because 
the form they will take necessarily depends on the other experi- 
ences the child undergoes and on the peculiarities of the culture 
into which it is born. They may, for instance, be concentrated 
on fears for physical security, for the supply of foodstuffs, or 
they may centre around emotional security; or they may take 
yet other forms.) 

In the west we now have a further variant of the problem in 
that we rely very often on bottle feeding. The subject is still 
but little investigated, but the position seems to be that if the 
bottle is given by the mother personally, with the child in her 
arms and all the evidences of affection present, as in normal 
feeding, and if it is given on demand, the effects of frustration 
will be avoided. Since, however, it generally is the case that 
bottle-fed babies suffer the same frustrations as breast-fed ones, 
as regards tod rigid feeding time-tables and too abrupt weaning, 
and that in addition they may be left alone while they take the 
bottle, it is probable that their emotional frustration is even 


Conditions of Happiness 

greater than the breast-fed child's. In practice, analysts havt 
noted that bottle-fed babies tend to suffer from neurosis more 
frequently than breast-fed ones. 

2. House-training. The child's firs\: social lesson, as we have 
seen, is connected with its mouth. Its second lesson is connected 
with its anus : it is house-trained. 

This process may be considered from two aspects. It may be 
viewed as a task of holding something in, in order to win 
approval, or as a task of producing something upon request. If 
it is viewed in the former light, the child is apt to learn the 
unconscious lesson: to be loved I must hold on to what I have 
got, and this will tend to produce a grasping, stingy element in 
the adult personality structure. 

Suppose, however, that the emphasis falls on the productive 
aspect. Suppose, that is, that the child remembers chiefly the 
approval it won by producing upon demand rather than the 
punishment it received for failing to retain. Then the lesson it 
learns is, in generalised form, 'creative activity pays off.' But 
the child's stool is something more than this : it is a love gift, 
and if it is refused, it will tend to become shy of offering its 
affection and friendship to others. Thus a house-training in 
which the emphasis has been not on punishment for failure of 
control but rather on affection given for successful production 
tends to create a generous, responsive, and productive type of 
personality. Where failure of control has resulted in loss of 
affection with consequent formation of guilt feelings, a person- 
ality preoccupied with cleanliness or self-control may result. 
The test of this is to be found in the frequency with which, in 
adults, obsessive cleanliness is associated with a materially- 
tight-fisted and emotionally-stingy nature. Here, as in every 
psychological field, neurotic patterns wreak their effects in both 
emotional and practical directions simultaneously. 

A further variation on this theme may occur. If the child does 
not feel well-disposed towards its mother, it can retaliate by 
retaining its faeces when asked to produce them. This is a 
significant experience for by so doing it tastes power over others 
for the first time. (It will already have exerted some power over 


Personality Formation 

others by crying, no doubt, but this is not quite on the same 
plane, for when it cries it is making a request of its mother, but 
now its mother is making a request of it.) The deliberate nature 
of this act, and its association with emotional factors is vividly 
shown in a case observed by Susan Isaacs, in which a small 
child, which had for weeks been recalcitrant about excreting, 
ten minutes after the arrival of a new nurse, whom it liked, 
voluntarily fetched its pot and announced: 'For you I'll do it.' 1 
In adult life this pattern may persist, transmuted into 
appropriate forms. Property may be accumulated, for instance, 
as a form of retaliation against society for not being sufficiently 
accommodating. 2 The general equivalence of faeces and money, 
which often seems to the laymen such a far-fetched idea, has 
been abundantly proved by Freud and thousands of workers 
since him. Popular resistance to 'symbolisms' of this kind is 
generally based on too literal an interpretation. It is not, of 
course, that the child says to itself: 'money is like faeces. I make 
money and I make faeces/ Or anything so crude. It is rather 
that the child learns a pattern which we can only express in the 
form: 'I produce something and I am loved.' Then, on later 
occasions, it tends to follow the same pattern, substituting 
whatever is now the appropriate comparable action for winning 
approval which in our society may well be making a lot of 
money. Similar arguments apply, of course, to other situations. 
Great resistance was aroused, for instance, by the parallel 
Freud drew between the child's attitude to its parents the 
son's love of his mother and his jealousy of his father and the 
adult's attitude to women. But it is not suggested that the child 
thinks of its mother in exactly the same way, in every detail, 
as the man thinks of the woman he loves ; simply that both follow 
the same pattern, so that implications of one tend to get carried 
over to the other. 

1 S. Isaacs, Social Development in Young Children, 1933. 

2 Or, as Geoffrey Gorer has pointed out, it may lead to an obsessive 
preoccupation with etiquette, as in the case of the Japanese. See The 
Japanese Character, by Geoffrey Gorer, Penguin Science News 
No. i, 1946. 


Conditions of Happiness 

Finally, I should point ^ut that the house-training pattern 
must not be considered in isolation, but in conjunction with 
the weaning-pattern which precedes it. For instance, if a harsh 
house-training is combined with an* early weaning the two 
patterns will fuse, property being doubly desired as a form of 
(quasi-emotional) security and a retaliation for lack of it. It must 
also be related to the pattern which follows it, namely, the 
CEdipus situation. 

3. CEdipus situation. The third of babyhood's major shocks 
occurs some time after the child has learned to discriminate 
between its mother and other human beings. One day it realises 
that its mother is giving her attention and affection to the father 
and it feels that it has lost this affection, perhaps for ever. This 
sensation will naturally be more intense if its earlier experiences 
have already laid the foundations of a sense of insecurity. This 
is the basic situation which Freud called the (Edipus situation. 1 
Frequently the child gets over its fears and disappointment, but 
if the shock is sufficiently intense and if earlier or later experi- 
ences reinforce the sense of being excluded from the mother's 
affection, it may cause a permanent deformation of the person- 
ality, termed an (Edipus complex. Such a non-valid behaviour 
pattern is so common in our civilisation that Freud assumed it 
to be a universal characteristic, though later work has shown 
that it is weak or even non-existent in certain cultures (e.g., 
the Marquesans 2 and the Trobrianders 8 ). 

One thing which seems definitely established is that children 
experience ajsevere shock if at an early age they witness 'the 
primal scene' their parents engaged in the sexual act. Such an 
experience is powerfully productive of (Edipal jealousy and 

1 It is often thought that the name signifies no more than Freud's 
acquaintance with classical myth. Jung has argued however that myths 
are essentially condensations of experience shared in common by the 
people making them, so that the CEdipus myth is actually a description 
of this very process. Contributions to Analytical Psychology, Eng. trans., 

2 See A. Kardiner, The Individual and His Society, New York, 1939. 
8 See B. Malinowski, Sex and Repression in Savage Societies t 1927. 


Personality Formation 

The direct effect of the (Edipus. situation is to produce a 
potential antagonism towards the father for having stolen the 
child's position, or a resentment towards the mother for having, 
as it seems to the child* betrayed its trust: or both. These 
antagonisms are frequently extraordinarily powerful, especially 
when reinforced by other circumstances, and come into sharp 
conflict with the child's natural affection for its parents. The 
child then finds a working solution by repressing the antagonism, 
enabling it to act with affection towards the parents; but the 
destructive wishes cooped up in its unconscious mind give rise to 
powerful feelings of guilt, though these also remain unconscious. 

As Freud demonstrated, and his thesis has survived countless 
attempts to demolish it, the small child's affections are strongly 
coloured by sex. Observation of children in cultures which do 
not place the same powerful taboos on sex that we do abundantly 
confirms this. The outcome of the CEdipus situation is therefore 
apt to be that all sexual activity becomes associated with guilt; 
or, to put it in its crudest form, with fear of retaliation from the 
father. In this situation, the idea of castration often assumes 
great significance. With the ambivalence which is typical of the 
thinking of the unconscious mind, castration is feared as the 
father's revenge on the child for its desires, and at the same time 
is wished for because castration would solve its dilemma and 
free it from guilt. Parents who threaten children with castration 
(as a punishment for masturbation) powerfully reinforce this 
feeling and foster the setting up of a rigid system of ideas in 
the unconscious, i.e., a castration complex. 

Masturbation, it is very important to stress, is a process of 
the greatest importance for a child's development. For at first 
the child is wholly dependent for its satisfaction on the minis- 
trations of others a situation which is inherently frustrating 
as the rage of an uncomfortable or unfed baby shows. The 
moment, therefore, when the child finds that it can provide 
itself with pleasure by its own efforts is supremely valuable: 
it is the first step towards the state of adulthood in which it 
relies on its own efforts instead of those of others. This moment 
generally occurs through the discovery of masturbation. 


Conditions of Happiness 

Accordingly it is now held that infantile masturbation is a vital 
stage in the child's development: it is the step which initiates 
what we may call its psychological weaning. I have italicised the 
word infantile because at a later agfc the situation is different. 
If development follows its normal course, the child will soon 
discover more constructive and rewarding methods of self- 
gratification the whole world of experience will open out 
and masturbation will be dropped and speedily forgotten. 
Persistence of masturbation, or its recurrence, must be viewed 
as the symptom of a failure to establish this wider relationship, 
a failure to find gratification in the external world; it is a retreat, 
when elaborate methods prove too exhausting or unrewarding, 
to a more primitive device. 

But to teach the child that masturbation is 'wicked' does more 
than to handicap its psychic development. It strongly reinforces 
the feelings of guilt which, thanks to the (Edipus complex, are 
already connected with the idea of sex. (And, needless to say, it 
does not effect any real cure : the only effective cure is to help the 
child to establish a satisfactory relationship to the external 

When a child develops strong and persistent feelings of 
unconscious guilt about sexual activity it may deal with them 
in various ways; one of the commonest, perhaps, is frigidity 
or impotence. Inability to perform the sexual act achieves the 
same results as castration. It prevents the performance of a 
forbidden act and at the same time punishes the victim for 
guilty wishes. It is a psychological castration. Impotence of this 
kind does much more than deprive the victim of pleasure and 
handicap his marital life; it may fill him with doubts of his 
capacity in every sphere. Since all forms of creative energy are 
manifestations of the life force, of Eros, to use Freud's name 
for it, any failure to release it is liable to be reflected by impo- 
tence in every department of the person's life. 

Alternatively, the victim may be driven to prove his compe- 
tence by excelling in some suitable substitute activity or 
activities. Such a rigid compulsive desire for success and 
approval is often called the urge for self-validation. 


Personality Formation 

The OEdipus situation, then, is a source of guilt and uncon- 
scious aggression, especially of sexual guilt and of inhibitions 
of the creative impulse. 1 

In addition to these 'almost universal experiences, some 
children undergo other painful experiences. For instance, their 
physical movements may be impeded by swaddling clothes. 
Such physical frustration may infuse into the structure of the 
personality an impatience at restraint or opposition and 
possibly lead to violent self-assertiveness in adult life. 

In my efforts to clarify the effect of these basic experiences, 
I may have given the impression that each produces a character- 
istic result: irregular feeding, a sense of insecurity; harsh anal 
training, preoccupation with cleanliness or property; the 
(Edipus situation, aggression and guilt. In reality, however, one 
cannot divide the personality into watertight compartments. 
The personality is the outcome of all the contributory forces. 
The effect of any specific shock always depends to some extent 
on what other shocks have been experienced. For instance, the 
effect of the (Edipus situation is sometimes to produce resent- 
ment against the mother for her supposed faithlessness, rather 
than hatred of the father. We may speculate that this reaction 
would be most likely to occur if an abrupt weaning had already 
sown doubts as to her constancy: unfortunately, the exact 
mechanics of these interactions have not yet been established. 
This observation should be borne in mind during subsequent 
discussions of personality formation. Furthermore, the exact 
form which neurotic compensation takes is influenced by the 
customs of the society in which the individual finds himself. 
Harsh anal training is more likely to produce stinginess in a 
society which regards acquisitive activity as normal behaviour. 

1 It should, perhaps, be mentioned that the (Edipus situation does 
not work out in quite the same way for women as it does for men. In 
either case the first object of affection is the mother, which for boys 
is a heterosexual, but for girls a homosexual relation. Hence the father 
enters the boy's world in the guise of a sexual rival, whereas to the girl 
he appears simply as a more interesting and natural object of affection. 
Adult homosexuality is frequently to be explained as an attempt to 
solve this conflict, but the mechanism is highly complex. 


Conditions of Happiness 
ii Parent Identification 

It is a well-established fact that children build up their 
personalities by incorporating ideas find attitudes which they 
find in those they love. The process at work is that which we 
have already mentioned by the name of identification. The small 
child wishes to 'be like' its mother or father, just as a little later 
the schoolboy tries to model himself on his hero. Parents (or 
nurses) are the normal objects for early identification, but it 
does not always happen that the child draws from both indiffer- 
ently. On the contrary, it usually tends to identify strongly 
with one and reject the other. Which it selects almost certainly 
depends on the way in which the CEdipus situation has worked 
out previously. 

We express our recognition of this fact when we say that 
a child 'takes after ' one of its parents, and we notice that it does 
not always model itself on the one it resembles physically. 

Although parents differ widely, nevertheless there are broad 
general differences in behaviour between males and females. 
Consequently, whether the child chooses its father or its 
mother as an object of identification will tend to make a pro- 
found difference to its character. Alternatively, it may achieve 
some degree of identification with both. 

As Flugel has pointed out, in a highly significant passage, 
those who identify themselves with the father tend to be 
authoritarian, conservative, puritanical and individualist. Those 
who identify with the mother, to be democratic, progressive, 
co-operative and free from sexual guilt. He found it possible 
to identify as many as twelve pairs of characteristics associated 
with the two types. 1 

So reliable is this correlation that intelligence officers 
'screening' Germans to eliminate those with Nazi affiliations 
at the end of the recent war used it, in conjunction with other 
techniques, to identify adherents of the regime. 

It must be made clear that these two types of personality 
which we may call patriform and matriform represent 

1 See J. C. Flugel, Man, Morals and Society, 1945, 

Personality Formation 

extremes of a range and not two distinct categories. A child 
normally incorporates elements derived from both parents into 
its personality, and no doubt the kind of personality most 
desirable both for the person concerned and for society lies 
somewhere between these two poles. It is when a child has only 
one parent, or when it reacts from one of its parents, that a per- 
sonality influenced chiefly by the other results. And we must also 
bear in mind other possibilities : for instance, a child brought up 
by nurses will tend to introject their standards rather than those 
of its parents. 1 Finally, it must be stressed that much of what 
it derives from each parent is not, or not wholly, determined by 
biological factors: much of what we regard as typically mascu- 
line, or typically feminine, behaviour, is in reality a product of 
the culture, as Mead and others have shown. 2 

Now one type of character may be more conducive to the 
possessor's happiness than the other according to which type 
is best adapted to the society the owner is living in : moreover, 
one type may be more conducive to the happiness of others. 
So here, too, we have a factor which is very relevant to the 
question of happiness, and about which we shall have more to 
say in the next chapter. 

From considerations of specific elements introjected into 
personality, I must turn aside for a moment to a more general 
concept, applicable to much that we have said, and much that 
is still to come. To wit, guilt. 

in Guilt and Its Origins 

Guilt, no one will deny, is a source of unhappiness. Yet 
no one would suggest that we should eliminate all guilt. If a 
man feels no guilt for anti-social acts which he commits, his 

1 This explains, incidentally, why men of position are sometimes 
unable to build a satisfactory sex-life with women of their own class, 
and are driven to maintain a mistress whose manners reproduce those 
of their one-time nurses. 

8 See M. Mead, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies, 
1935. The influence of culture is also discussed at some length in the 
next chapter. 


Conditions of Happiness 

behaviour will become more and more intolerable. It is neurotic 
guilt which is the danger; guilt which is out of all proportion 
to the cause, guilt which generated by acts which, rightly 
considered, are not guilty, guilt which persists long after the 
error has been expiated. I think it must be failure to appreciate 
this point which has caused some Catholic writers to attack 
psychology most bitterly for its attempts to reduce guilt. 

And neurotic guilt is certainly a major factor in contemporary 
unhappiness. How, then, is it formed? 

Guilt, essentially, is consciousness of having done something 
forbidden, something 'wicked.' As we shall see in a moment, 
the child's conception of what is forbidden is wholly arbitrary, 
so it may easily happen that guilt is generated by deeds which 
are in reality innocent, or, at worst, inevitable childhood 
misdemeanours. The next question is: Why should contravention 
of these prohibitions produce the unpleasant feeling we call 
guilt? It seems fairly certain that guilt is really fear of the 
consequences fear of punishment or fear of loss of approval 
and affection. Of these the latter is much the most serious: 
indeed, for the child it is intolerable. Hence undiscovered 
crimes are a source of deep anxiety. So much so that the child 
often longs to have the misdeed discovered and undergo punish- 
ment so that it can regain a feeling of security and be confident 
of approval and affection. 1 

This desire for punishment is in direct conflict with the 
normal wish to avoid painful experiences and it is owing to the 
existence of- this conflict that guilty persons find it so hard to 
avoid giving themselves away. 

But conflict, as we know, evokes repression : so that memory 
of the guilty deed is lost to consciousness. Yet the sensation of 
having erred lingers on and this conduces to the formation of a 

1 At the writer's public school, any boy who had been given 'lines' 
up to a total of 500 automatically incurred a beating. It was not 
uncommon for boys who had received 400, or even in some cases 300, 
to bring the number up to 500 by some piece of deliberate misbehaviour 
in order, at the price of a flogging, to dispose of the psychological 
menace. In the same connection, the phrase 'I'll take my medicine* is 
graphically descriptive. 


Personality Formation 

rigid, non- valid behaviour pattern which in severe cases may 
last throughout life. The person suffering from a load of 
unconscious guilt continually seeks new punishment or inter- 
prets every misfortune as deserved. Naturally, all guilt causes 
some unhappiness, but neurotic guilt goes much further. 
Because all conscious recollection of the crime has been 
repressed no amount of atonement ever succeeds in restoring 
confidence. The unhappy victim passes his whole life in a hell 
of insecurity and unease, and continually deviates from con- 
structive activities to compensate for his mistake. Unless, indeed, 
he deals with the situation by projecting his guilt on to others 
and spends his time punishing these effigies of himself as the 
Nazis did wkh the Jews. 

Where this self-punishing attitude takes an acute form we 
speak of masochism, and where it is projected, of sadism. In 
many cases both attitudes exist alternately and we speak of 
sado-masochism. l 

The tragedy is that the original cause is generally trifling. 
Owing to the extraordinary persistence of repressed experiences 
adults may feel unconscious guilt for childish crimes which are 
in reality quite trivial, and which, when exposed by analysis, 
are seen to be ludicrously inadequate as justifications for the 
amount of suffering undergone. What makes it worse is that 
the mind, especially the child mind, is strongly disposed to 
regard wishes as severely as deeds. Unconscious guilt is often 
created by misdeeds which were never committed. Nearly all 
small children at some time entertain destructive wishes 
towards their parents for frustrating them, and especially 
towards the father who appears in the light of a rival for the 
mother's affection. Destructive wishes to rival brothers and 
sisters are also common. If something occurs to dramatise these 
early wishes a typical pattern is that such wishes are followed, 
by chance, by the death of the parent or brother, of which the 

1 The Freudian view, however, is that sadism is aggression 'fused 
with* libido, i.e., sexual desire, while masochism is introjected sadism. 
Almost certainly both aggressive and punitive factors are present, but 
the subject is far from clear. 

Conditions of Happiness 

child then feels itself guilty neurosis is often established. 
Unconscious guilt is a rather widespread feature of our 
civilisation, as witness the strong . tendency to sadism and 

The practical task then, is (a) to minimise the formation of 
guilt, especially infantile guilt, since it is around infantile guilt 
that later accumulations crystallise ; and (b) to provide effective 
means for discharging guilt and restoring a sense of emotional 

We could avoid the formation of guilt by never punishing 
children in any way whatever. The Comanche Indians of North 
America follow this course with great success, and several other 
peoples punish exceedingly little. Unfortunately it is a counsel 
of perfection, and one which works effectively only in societies 
which are well-balanced in any case. So we must reckon on 
having to make use of guilt-discharging techniques. 

The nature of such techniques depends on the type of 
punishment which is customary. In our society we teach that 
wrong-doing can be expiated by physical suffering but other 
societies teach that this result can be achieved by confession 
and repentance, by making restitution, by self-denial, by 
sacrifice to the gods, or other means. 1 All these are absolutely 
effective, provided the guilty person believes they are. So the 
practical question is to create belief in the method which is most 
valuable socially. Restitution, as far as it is possible, is to be 
preferred. It is valuable in cases of theft or destruction of 
property, though useless in mutilation or murder. 

Another point is that the device should not be too difficult to 

1 Compulsive attempts to disperse neurotic guilt will take a corres- 
ponding form. Thus the child who has been taught to make restitution 
may go through life compulsively sacrificing its own interests to helping 
others, to an extent out of all proportion with its obligations. Or it may 
be neurotically scrupulous in avoiding * crimes* similar to its original 
misdeed. Thus the puritan is often a person who feels neurotically 
guilty about having experienced sexual pleasure, generally because he 
has, as a child, been punished for masturbation. And we all know the 
person who is morbidly obsessed with cleanliness, which is frequently 
the result of guilt about failure of anal control. 


Personality Formation 

achieve. A man will not readily invite five years' hard labour to 
clear his conscience though, at the other extreme, he will not 
boggle at confession. 

It is well not to lose sight of the fact that confession, for 
anyone who believes in the priest's power of absolution, is a 
one hundred per cent, effective method of disposing of guilt, and 
as such is a therapeutic weapon of no mean value. And, in fact, 
the whole Christian religion is well adapted for this purpose. 
Anyone who believes that Christ really did take upon himself 
the sins of the world is thereby freed of guilt. The only essential 
is to have faith. Whatever else he was, Christ was a first-class 
practical psychologist. Divine or not, His claim that he could 
relieve people of the burden of sin was quite literally true, 
provided that his hearers believed him. He was engaged in a 
staggeringly bold experiment in mass psychology. 

Those who doubt pay a high price for their scepticism, and 
their only hope is to find someone or something they can have 
faith in. Today that someone is the scientist, specifically the 
psycho-analyst, who is thus the direct successor to the priest. 

By the same token, the sacrifices made by the Romans to their 
gods were equally effective in their way. 

I said that the discharge of guilt should not be made too 
difficult: equally it must not be made too easy, or an impor- 
tant incentive to good behaviour is removed. In theory at least, 
confession meets this requirement, for the priest can always 
withhold absolution from the unrepentant. 

But while such devices are effective in dealing with conscious 
guilt they cannot cope with the unconscious variety. 

So far we have considered the psychological superstructure 
simply as a potential source of unhappiness to the possessor, 
but now we must switch from the personal to the social view- 
point and consider how far it is effective in regulating behaviour 
so that it will not injure other people. It is this second obligation 
which creates the difficulty. If we had only single individuals 
to deal with we could reduce the formation of guilt by refraining 
from punishing them at all, as do the Comanches. But our task 
is harder. We can hardly escape the obligation of teaching 
C.H. 7 89 

Conditions of Happiness 

children certain lessons. The most we can do is keep these 
lessons to the minimum and provide sure and certain means 
to the dissipation of guilt by reinstatement in parental or, in 
the case of an adult, in social favour. 

What are the bases of a code of behaviour ? Where does the 
child obtain the standards by which it judges the permissibility 
or otherwise of actions to which it is impelled? 

iv Regulating Behaviour 

One great force which restrains people from anti-social 
behaviour is the fear of sacrificing the approval and co-operation 
of their fellows. It is not, however, the only force. People do not 
at once behave with complete selfishness when they know they 
will not be found out: most of them are also restrained by an 
inner compulsion we call the conscience. 

In most western countries the conscience plays a very 
prominent role but at the same time there are large numbers of 
people whose consciences are much less exacting than the 
majority's. This difference of standards causes unhappiness, 
and it also tends to degrade the standards of the more conscien- 
tious. It is therefore a matter of importance to study how the 
conscience is formed and nourished. 

The conscience can be analysed into two parts: first, man 
has a picture of how he ought to behave; second, there is a 
driving force which keeps him up to the mark. The first we 
called, in Freud's terminology, the ego-ideal, the second the 
super-ego. Hence anti-social behaviour may be the result, 
either of the formation of a faulty ego-ideal, or of the weakness 
of the driving force or of both. Accordingly the next step is 
to ask (a) whence do we derive our ego-ideals ? and (b) whence 
the driving force? 1 

Research has shown clearly that ego-ideals are derived, in the 
first instance, from parental behaviour. The small child loves 
its parents and wishes to be like them. It models its behaviour 

1 For an excellent summary of what is known about the formation 
of super-ego and ego-ideal, see J. C. Flugel, op. cit. 


Personality Formation 

on theirs. In the jargon, it introjects parental attitudes. If the 
parents later sacrifice its approval it may modify its ideal in 
compensation; thus, if they are mean, it may come to set a high 
value on generosity. Or it may seek to model itself on some other 
admired figure: this is the process, common in slightly older 
children, of hero-worship. In this early phase the child's 
conception of right and wrong is purely empirical. Mme. 
Montessori has observed that a child will, in a spirit of experi- 
ment, perform a whole range of 'naughty* acts simply in 
order to find out whether they are regarded as forbidden or 

Later, however, as Piaget has shown, a new phase opens. The 
child begins to generalise from its own behaviour and its 
experiences with other children. It discovers that certain 
behaviour patterns are painful when it is the victim and begins 
to realise they are equally painful when it is the operator and 
someone else the victim. 1 

What can we learn from this ? 

I would like to draw attention to three things. First, there is 
the terrible rigidity of infantile conscience. The child trans- 
gresses parental edicts or patterns and is filled with guilt. Later 
in life, having evolved a somewhat more rational code of behav- 
iour these early transgressions seem trivial and ridiculous. We 
laugh ruefully to think how much agony they cost us at the 
time. But it is not the transgressions we remember which cause 
the trouble : it is those of which the memory has been repressed. 
Many people are burdened by unconscious feelings of guilt 
for trivial transgressions much of the work of psycho-analysis 
consists in bringing these incidents back to the conscious 
memory so that they can be seen in proportion, and that is why 
the recovery of memories alone has a therapeutic effect, even 
though it does not necessarily of itself effect a cure. 

Although the second phase of morality is rational in nature, 

1 See J. Piaget and others, The Moral Judgment of the Child, 1932. 
The effect of play with other children in stimulating a social sense 
is studied by Susan Isaacs, The Social Development in Young Children, 

Conditions of Happiness 

it is by no means wholly rational but is much influenced by 
social customs and standards which it takes for granted. For 
instance, if a child is laughed at foj- being unconventionally 
dressed it is likely to incorporate ideas about the proper way 
to dress in its ego-ideal and, as an adult, will feel uneasy if it 
fails to observe them. This is, of course, a perfectly practical 
response though it may be in some cases excessive in degree 
as far as the individual is concerned. He recognises that he 
may lose approval by dressing unsuitably and naturally avoids 
the blunder. But looking at society as a whole we see how 
unimportant it is whether one has a ring in one's nose or in one's 
ears. The mistake is for the people in a society to withhold 
approval from people who fail to conform to these arbitrary 

In short, our conscience in not a divinely-inspired guide but 
a haphazard collection of rules of varying value. At the core is 
the Golden Rule, the product of experience: do as you would 
be done by. But it is overlaid by ghosts of what daddy did 
and what Smith minor said that awful afternoon. That is 
one reason why consciences produce such odd results in 

And even the lesson of the Golden Rule may not be success- 
fully learned. If a child finds that its attempts to be co-operative 
to others are rewarded by co-operation towards itself it will 
learn the lesson. But if its overtures are abused, it will tend to 
learn the contrary lesson, that Might pays off. As is now widely 
recognised, most vindictive behaviour (apart from the sadistic 
elements it may contain) consists in an attempt to compensate 
for injustices suffered in youth injustices the memory of 
which has been repressed. 

Finally, it must be pointed out that parents often fail to 
teach children the lesson they think they are teaching. Children 
are, above all, imitative. The father who thrashes a child for 
(let us say) getting himself dirty, believes he is teaching him 
cleanliness; he may be teaching him only that the best way to 
achieve one's ends is by violence, especially if the father allows 
himself the failing for which the child is punished. 


Personality Formation 
v Super-Ego Formation 

The second question we were to ask was what is the origin of 
the force which drives thfr individual to live up to his ego-ideal. 
Though the details are obscure, it seems clearly established 
that this is derived from the individual's own load of aggression 
which is, to a greater or lesser degree, turned against himself. 
In a classic experiment students were set a problem which was, 
though they did not know it, insoluble and their reactions were 
observed. It was found that some consistently blamed them- 
selves for their failure, while others blamed the environment 
the teacher or the puzzle. From this was derived the concept of 
an intropunitive and an extrapunitive type, though it has not 
been established that an extrapunitive never behaves intro- 

Extrapunitives, accordingly, are little troubled by conscience, 
while intropunitives tend to be extremely conscientious. The 
extent of their conscience depends, however, on the volume 
of aggression at the disposal of the super-ego. The child which 
has been much frustrated will tend to be the perfectionist, 
worrying type and will, of course, display these tendencies to 
the full whenever met by frustrating circumstances in adult 

All the same, I find it difficult to regard this as a full explana- 
tion of the super-ego. The conscientious person, I suspect, is 
also motivated by something akin to fear. Deep down in his 
unconscious a little voice whispers, if you do that you'll suffer 
for it. Or we can say, quite simply, that he knows that if he 
goes against the dictates of his conscience he will feel 

But it must not be assumed that the super-ego is formed in all 
individuals with equal force. As Bateson has pointed out, three 
conditions are necessary to super-ego formation: 

1. There must be some individual adult who makes it his or 
her business to teach the child how to behave. 

2. This teaching must be backed up by punishment. 

3. The child must love the adult in question. 


Conditions of Happiness 

Where these conditions do not obtain the super-ego will be 
weak or missing. 1 This we can see in our own society today. 

VI Ideal Pictures 

Unaware, perhaps, of Freud's existing concept of the ego- 
ideal accounting for our moral and ethical ideas, Coulson has 
proposed a similar but broader notion which he calls the 
ideal picture* Everyone, he says, creates a conception or picture 
of their life as they would like it to be. Such an ideal comprises 
a certain standard of home comfort, of personal liberty, of 
public approval and private regard, and so on. People regulate 
their actions in accordance with this picture. They refuse to 
live in a house which they think is c beneath them/ to wear 
clothes of less than a certain quality or style, or to accept a wage 
or salary below what they think is their due. 

This ideal picture comprises certain standards of personal 
behaviour too. People often say that they would think it 
'beneath them* to behave in such and such a way. 

Naturally, everyone constantly makes decisions on such 
matters, but Coulson was suggesting something more than 
this. He was suggesting that these decisions are not made afresh 
each time on the merits of the case but are referred to a pre- 
existing, internally consistent picture of oneself. How far this 
is true is still uncertain: Coulson makes many assertions about 
the way in which this picture was formed and revised which 
were probably of little significance except as descriptions, 
and it is not even established that any such organised view 

Nevertheless, it is true that people have standards of what 
is due to them, and that unhappiness results when these 
standards are ill-chosen. I want, therefore, to try and clarify 
the matter sufficiently for us to see what the practical implica- 
tions are when it comes to designing a world in which we can be 

1 J. McV. Hunt, Personality and the Behaviour Disorders, 1944. 
* W. McDougall, Introduction to Social Psychology t 23rd ed., 1936. 


Personality Formation 

If we examine instances in which people have formed an 
'ideal picture* (to use Coulson's terminology without 
prejudice) which militate^ against their happiness we find they 
are generally unsatisfactory for one, or both, of two reasons. 
Either their pictures involve being superior to other people, 
or it aims at the acquisition of things which are not, ultimately, 
necessary to happiness. 

The introduction of this comparative element into motiva- 
tion, so that whatever one does or possesses one must do better 
or possess more of than anyone else, I would regard as a disease 
or distortion of normal ambition arising from the urge to self- 
validation to which I have already referred. Its psychological 
roots lie in a fear of organic inferiority impotence and this is 
intensified if the person concerned is placed in an inferior 
position by fate or his own deficiencies at a later age. It is a 
common malady in western civilisation. The second error is 
subordinate to the first. The man who wishes to excel over 
his fellows, and so win their approval, must excel in the 
things they value and so he tends to choose material things 
rather than skill, aesthetic sensibility or spiritual insight, 
when he lives, as we do in a society which values material 
possessions, more strongly, on the whole, than non-material 

This urge to live at a certain standard, whether it be inter- 
preted in terms of knowledge, power or possessions, which 
must exceed other people' s corresponds to what we call ambition, 
in the strict sense the sort of ambition Wolsey meant when 
he said: 'Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition/ In its 
extremest manifestation it may amount to megalomania or even 
delusional insanity, as in the case of the man who imagines 
he is Napoleon, or God. 

I fancy that the ideal picture in its material aspects is 
normally a representation of one's childhood; in its non- 
material aspects it is no more than the normal desire for 
approval. The normal man wishes, for instance, to wear 
clothes which will not bring him into disrepute with his friends, 
and which will be comfortable. That is all. It is only if he begins 


Conditions of Happiness 

to use clothes as a device for being envied or admired that he 
begins to accumulate a vast wardrobe; it is only when he 
wishes to prove himself different frony the common herd (and 
hence, he means, superior) that he may take to eccentric 

In itself, then, the ideal picture is not likely to be a major 
cause of unhappiness. It is primarily when it is distorted by 
ego-considerations that it becomes so. There are, however, 
two ways in which it can prove unsatisfactory. The first is 
when it incorporates materialistic aims to the exclusion of 
non-material ones. The second results from the division of 
our society into classes of varying material wealth. The man 
who has been born to circumstances of a certain degree of 
comfort, and who is forced by fate or his own deficiencies 
into poorer ones, suffers a frustration (over and above the 
material discomfort involved) which does not afflict the person 
born into those circumstances. Such frustration is hardly com- 
pensated for by the sense of self-satisfaction which is felt by 
those who have risen into a superior class, because the latter 
will only be felt by those who are suffering from ego-inferiority, 
while the former will assail all such people. This kind of 
frustration will only disappear when differences in the material 
standard of living either disappear or, as is more likely, cease 
to be considered important. 

It is an interesting fact that such considerations only apply 
to material possessions. If a man felt frustrated when forced 
by his own intellectual deficiencies into a milieu less intelligent 
than the one into which he had been born, we could not do 
anything about this, because we cannot ensure that every 
milieu will be equal in such respects. But a man of little intellect 
does not feel frustrated when in the company of other people 
of little intellect; on the contrary, he would feel frustrated if 
obliged to consort with intellectuals. Similarly, with aesthetic 
and spiritual gifts. 

This, of course, is not to say that a man of high intellectual 
gifts who is forced by material (economic) circumstances into 
unintellectual society is not frustrated: obviously he is. 

Personality Formation 

But this is precisely the sort of situation which can be 
avoided by breaking up the economic classes in the way just 

vn Conclusion 

This huge complex of mislearned and misapplied lessons at 
which we have been looking impels man to many activities 
which do not further his happiness, nor that of his fellow 
men, and may even make it harder to attain. It is something 
to have recognised its existence, but the odd thing is that we 
have no word for it. 

Those who study these matters refer to the field in which 
these processes take place as the psyche, and to themselves as 
psychologists, but this is to use the word psyche quite 
differently from its dictionary meaning or its meaning in the 
original Greek. The psyche is the soul, or spirit of man. 
Whether this spirit has an objective existence or not is an 
issue which may be, and often is, debated. But however the 
debate is decided, there can be no doubt that this network of 
behaviour patterns does not correspond to the idea of soul or 
spirit. It corresponds much more closely to the idea of per- 
sonality. In fact, many psychologists (as I must continue to 
call them, in the absence of another word) would go so far as 
to say that the personality is wholly a construct built up on 
such lines and modified by physical influences such as the 
endocrine secretions. 1 

At least it is clear that we must regard it as very largely a 
construct or artefact and pay much more attention than 
hitherto to the forces which construct it. We must admit the 
discouraging truth that to preserve a harmonious and undis- 
torted personality, a rare combination of care and good fortune 
is necessary. 

And there, until recently, many writers would be content to 
leave the matter. 

1 See H. G. Wells, Doctoral Thesis : The Multiple, Unstable 
Constitution of Individuality, 1944; Sherif, M., & Cantril, H., The 
Psychology of Ego Involvements, 1947; etc. 


Conditions of Happiness 

But today opinion is moving away from this extreme 
emphasis on genetic factors towards a greater stress on environ- 
mental ones. Psychological blows rryiy form the personality, 
but customs and social pressures regulate the ways in which it 
can express itself. Moreover, social situations can do much to 
reinforce or soften the effect of these early lessons: indeed, 
social factors regulate the lessons themselves. 

To these cultural factors we must now turn our attention. 


I The Cultural Heritage n Basic Personality Structure m Cultural 

Neurosis iv Patriform and Matriform Societies v Harmful Culture 

Elements vi Origin of Culture Elements vn The Basis of Culture: 

Values vin Genesis of Values 

I The Cultural Heritage 

1 HOUGH we are now beginning to recognise the extent to 
which man's behaviour is governed by the forces within him, 
few people yet appreciate how much it is influenced by the 
customs, institutions and beliefs of the society into which he 
is born. Hence we fail to grasp how intimately his chances of 
happiness depend on the suitability of this heritage to its 
several tasks. 

In sociology, the whole complex of ideas, customs, con- 
ventions, taboos, institutions, values, techniques and beliefs 
which, within any given society, is handed on from one 
generation to another is termed its culture ; and this concept of 
culture as a moulding and determining force is of fundamental 
importance. Perhaps the most concise definition of culture is 
'the learned reactions of a group.' 1 Culture should not be 
confused (as it often is) with the physical property which 
reflects it the buildings, vehicles, tools, clothing, works of 
art, etc. For these the sociologist prefers the term cultural 
equipment, although the term material culture is sometimes 
used. Men choose to live in social groups because they find 
that, on the whole, they can satisfy their needs, psychological 
as well as practical, more effectively by so doing than if they 

1 Proposed by Gillin and Gillin, An Introduction to Sociology, 1942. 
The precise definition of the term culture presents some difficulty. 
See the discussion in The Science of Man in the World Crisis, ed. R. 
Lint on, Columbia University Press, 1945. 


Conditions of Happiness 

live in isolation. But although social existence yields benefits 
it also demands sacrifices. No individual can be permitted to 
satisfy his own needs at the cost of making it less easy for 
others to do so, or the group will tend to dissolve. So the 
function of society is twofold: to assist men in gaining their 
ends and to restrain them from injuring one another. 

To assist men in achieving their ends, societies adopt 
customs and to restrain them from anti-social action they pro- 
vide taboos* It is easy to see that a custom such as the rule 
of the road simplifies life for everybody. The purpose of some 
customs is less obvious, others have outlived their usefulness, 
but initially all were functional in intention. Taboos are a 
special sort of custom about not doing something. We can 
either say it is customary for the captain not to leave a sinking 
ship until passengers and crew are clear, or we can say that it 
is taboo for him to leave earlier. An organised group of 
customs we call an institution. Marriage is a good example. 

A third type of culture element of great practical importance 
is values. For most people the idea that values can be treated 
as having a kind of independent existence will seem strange. 
They are accustomed to think of values as no more than a 
convenient way of describing behaviour. Thus, the statement : 
'I like cake' (i.e. *I set a high value on cake') forms a convenient 
clue to how I will behave when faced with cake, but when 
I die the attitude disappears, if not before. It might seem, 
therefore, that to say 'Men like cake* describes how men now 
living react, .but has no significance for the next generation, 
which might, conceivably, feel quite differently about it. 

But the fact is that we take over many of our values quite 
uncritically from our parents or our society, instead of forming 
them by practical experiment, as we do in the case of cake. 
Thus, among the Veddahs, who like eating the lice out of 

1 Customs are usually classified as mores which have a moral 
significance and are thought essential to the welfare of society, and 
folkways which are simply a matter of convenience. Thus shaking hands 
is a folkway, but monogamy is a mos. Similarly, taboos may or may not 
be invested with moral significance. 


Social Matrix 

their friends' hair, this taste continues consistently from one 
generation to another. Equally, vegetarian tribes continue 
vegetarian and meat-eaters continue carnivorous. Our own 
dislike of headlice as an item of diet is, after all, drawn from 
the culture and not from experiment. Or, if it is difficult to see 
the truth of such a bizarre example, consider the frogs and 
snails of French diet, or even our aversion from the perfectly 
palatable horsemeat. 

In short, values, once established, tend to persist, and this 
is just as true of subtler values, such as approval of wisdom, 
courage or romantic love. 

Further, the mere fact that a value is held tends to per- 
petuate it, because those who do not conform to it sacrifice 
public approval. Hence, values not only persist, but spread. 
In this way, the values of a society tend, in the absence of 
disturbing forces, to become uniform and self-consistent. 

Living as we do inside a particular culture, we find it hard 
to grasp to what a large extent our actions and beliefs are 
predetermined. We take it for granted that we drink milk, 
that women wear skirts, that marriage is monogamous, and 
that most of the population are Christians, rather than 
Buddhists or devil-worshippers. We have an illusion of free 
will: anyone who feels strongly enough can be a Buddhist or 
abstain from milk but for every two or three directions in 
which we break away there are thousands in which we conform 
without even hesitating about doing so. The fact seems to be 
that men make decisions only with difficulty; they do not 
have the energy to work out their own pattern of behaviour 
in more than a handful of instances, and unthinkingly conform 
to the approved pattern in the greater part of their beliefs and 
actions. Indeed, occasionally conformity is made compulsory: 
about polygamy we do not have even the illusion of free will. 

Polygamy illustrates very well the curiously blinkered nature 
of our supposedly free judgment. A man may feel that the 
institution of marriage is not altogether satisfactory, and pro- 
pose modifications in the marriage laws, but he is most unlikely 
to propose abandoning monogamy for polygamy, and if he 


Conditions of Happiness 

does so he will gain no audience. In some strange way poly- 
gamy remains outside our focus of attention, beyond our 
mental horizon. It is not that we havq considered the arguments 
for it and rejected them; it is that we never let our mind 
inspect the subject at all. Monogamy is a datum in our culture. 

Because of this basic conservatism, even when our attention 
is drawn to the fact that there are other ways of behaving, 
other beliefs, we mutely feel that our own way is somehow 
natural and right. As a result, we remain obstinately blind to 
the unsatisfactory and harmful features of our own culture. 

Yet the moment we turn our attention to other culture we 
see at once that they often exhibit stupid and harmful features. 
At this point I will mention only a few crude and self-evident 
examples: cicatrisation, which often causes death; clitoridec- 
tomy, equally dangerous and fraught with psychological con- 
sequences; suttee, the practice by which the wife is burned to 
death on her husband's pyre; war. One a trifle subtler, but 
obvious to us today because we have recently broken free of 
it, is the seclusion of women and their exclusion from many 
natural and rewarding activities. It is not difficult to see that 
practices such as these or even such a simple custom as that 
which forbids women to propose to men may be productive 
of unhappiness. But beyond these self-evident examples there 
lie customs and beliefs which act in the psychological sphere; 
for instance, customs which cause anxiety and fear.* This is 
not only true in the simple sense that the beliefs which made 
the Spanish Inquisition possible were a source of misery to 
its victims, but also in the sense that Calvinism made even 
those who believed and practised it, harsh and joyless. The 
power of such beliefs is made very obvious by comparative 
anthropology. We note at once that in some cultures people 
are fundamentally happy, in others anxious, vindictive and 
hag-ridden. Since these attitudes bear no relation to the 
physical environment, we can reasonably infer that it is some- 
thing in the culture which makes them so. What these 
tyrannous forces are will appear in the course of the chapter. 

The object of this chapter, then, is first to establish some 


Social Matrix 

principles by which we can test culture elements from the 
standpoint of their effect on happiness and to show how 
undesirable elements cai^ come to be adopted. But first we 
must consider a group of culture elements of peculiar 

n Basic Personality Structure 

In the last chapter I described how the child's earliest 
experiences mould his character and named three experiences 
as of particular importance: the speed and violence of its 
weaning, the nature and violence of its house-training, and the 
violence with which it encounters the (Edipus situation. 

Now we must point out that these early experiences do not 
depend wholly on the caprice of the parents, but are to a very 
large extent regulated by relevant customs and beliefs obtain- 
ing in the culture. To some people the idea that methods of 
child training vary at all will be strange, and even are anything 
but completely 'natural' and obvious will seem strange; and 
if other societies differ from us, it must be simply because 
they are savage and ignorant. But the fact is that practices 
governing child-training differ considerably in different parts 
of the world, and it is certainly unjustifiable to regard ours as 
any more natural than anyone else's. In fact, from the view- 
point of character formation, the customs of western culture 
are very arbitrary and unnatural, as we shall see in a moment. 

Because of this tendency to follow custom, there will be a 
strong tendency for the children of a particular culture to 
undergo similar experiences, and so to have similar elements 
injected into their characters. Pioneer work has recently been 
done in this field by Dr. Kardiner of Columbia University, 
New York, 1 who has pointed out that even though the final 
pattern may vary greatly between individual and individual, 
and though the same element may give rise to different overt 
character traits in different societies, nevertheless, we are 

1 A. Kardiner, The Individual and His Society ', 1941 : The Psycho- 
logical Frontiers of Society, 1945. 


Conditions of Happiness 

entitled to speak of the basic personality structure of a society. 
It is because of the similarity of their personality structures 
that each race has a characteristic,, way of behaving which 
differs from that of other races. Many people still imagine 
that such differences are due to inheritance, but this is 
definitely not so: not only do people of one race, born in 
another country, and brought up by indigenous parents take 
on most of the characteristics of their country of birth, but the 
stocks of most western nations are already so closely mixed 
that the clear-cut differences we find between European 
countries cannot possibly result from them. 1 

This concept of a basic personality structure is of supreme 
importance and plays a key role in the argument of this book. 
Let us, therefore, consider it in more detail. 

Though separation from the mother is perhaps the earliest 
possible traumatic experience a child can undergo, most, if 
not all, societies recognise the baby's need for its mother, and 
separation is rare, except in so-called civilised societies. Every 
society, however, has views about the proper way of weaning 
a baby. 

In some primitive societies the child is never refused the 
breast, and simply resorts to it less and less because other 
food seems more interesting. In such cases weaning generally 
completes itself by the third or fourth year, though individual 
children (probably those who through some mischance have 
formed a sense of insecurity) may continue to suck the breast 
occasionally up to seven years, or even later. In others, by 
contrast, weaning is completed in six months by violent 
methods, the child being slapped whenever it reaches for the 
breast. The age at which weaning starts does not seem to 
matter greatly: what matters is that the child should feel it 
always can resort to the breast if it wants to. It is the conclusive 
end of weaning which is decisive. 

As will be understood, the anxieties generated by abrupt 

weaning will be greatly reinforced if natural conditions make 

the food supply or, for that matter, the supply of affection 

1 G. Dahlberg, Race, Reason and Rubbishy (Trans, ), 1943. 


Social Matrix 

with which it is equated unreliable in adult life. That adult 
food anxieties are not necessarily the consequence of real 
shortages is clearly established. Thus, the Dobu of New 
Guinea, who live in fertile country, are beset by food anxieties, 
while the tribes of Central Australia, who are constantly 
threatened by drought, have none. 1 The Dobu, as might be 
imagined, practise abrupt weaning, the Australians do not. 
The food anxieties of the Dobu are thus non-valid or neurotic ; 
and so, one might add, is the confidence of the Australians, 
though the idea of neurotic confidence has received little 
attention from psychologists. 

It is worth stressing that when the adult environment by 
chance justifies an anxiety originally formed by non-valid 
generalisation its neurotic character will be concealed and it 
will appear as a perfectly rational mode of behaviour. This is 
true of our own society, where genuine adult insecurity masks 
the effects of abrupt weaning. 

The pressure to complete an early weaning in the West 
stems clearly enough from the social preoccupations of the 
mother, her clothing, and the absence of numerous dependent 
females in the household who can do the cooking and 
cleaning. 2 Similarly, in the case of house-training, it is the 
complex and easily damaged nature of household furnishings 
and the relative remoteness and complexity of sanitary equip- 
ment which makes the mother anxious to complete house- 
training, while making it difficult for the child to attend to its 
own needs. In the mud-floored huts of the Pondo, 3 the child 
has only to wander outside the door to relieve itself: there are 
no buttons to undo, and no pot to aim at. And if it fails in 

1 R. F. Fortune, Sorcerers of Dobu, 1931 : and G. Roheim, The 
Origin and Function of Culture y 1943. 

2 Weaning could, of course, be postponed if the mother chose to 
employ a wet nurse. For obvious reasons, this is unlikely to become the 
practice of the majority. Nor is it a psychologically satisfactory solution 
since it creates a problem of divided allegiance in the infant's mind. 

8 See M. Hunter, Reaction to Conquest for an account of the Pondo. 
The Tanala are described by R. Linton, in a contribution to Kardiner's 
The Individual and His Society. 

C.H. 8 X05 

Conditions of Happiness 

this, the floor is not irreparably damaged. In contrast, the 
Tanala of Madagascar carry their children with them con- 
tinually in a shawl: any incontinen9e is highly inconvenient 
for the mother, especially since for this tribe fabric is costly 
and difficult to replace. Naturally, the Tanala try to effect a 
rapid 'sphincter control/ Not surprisingly, the Tanala are 
grudging and unproductive in adult life. 

Thirdly, there is the (Edipus situation. It is still far from 
clear what factors favour or hinder the formation of an 
(Edipus complex, but considerable light is thrown on the 
situation by the case, fully investigated by Malinowski, of the 
Trobriand Islanders. 1 As is now widely known, the Trobrianders 
do not recognise the biological father as responsible for his 
children. The responsibilities of a father, including the obliga- 
tion to punish or maintain discipline when necessary, devolves 
on the mother's brother. 

As Malinowski has argued, the Trobrianders form virtually 
no (Edipus complex and, as might be deduced, they have 
absolutely no guilt feelings about sex and place extremely 
few restrictions on the sexual act. Significantly enough, how- 
ever, they are much concerned about incest, and are scandalised 
if a young couple should fall in love with one another, although 
they have no objection to them living together, providing no 
affection is involved. In general, the Trobrianders are a 
remarkably happy, well-balanced people in contrast to the 
Amphlett Islanders, not far away, who have more orthodox 
family arrangements, have rigid sexual taboos, and suffer from 
guilt, anxiety and suspicion. 

The explanation would seem to be that the child can project 
all its hatred at restraint and discipline on to the uncle, while 
reserving its love for the mother and (true) father thus avoid- 
ing the conflict created by the normal (Edipal situation. 
I am not suggesting that anyone should follow the Trobriand 
pattern, which is not wholly devoid of neuroticism, as is 
shown by the preoccupation with incest and the curious 

1 B. Malinowski, Sexual Life of Savages in North-west Melanesia , 
1932, etc. 


Social Matrix 

pretence of ignorance about the biological significance of the 
sexual act. But it does suggest very strongly that the quantity 
of (Edipal guilt displaced by a society depends on specific 
circumstances, and that if we can reduce this guilt to the 
minimum we can produce much happier, better-integrated 
personalities than we usually do at present. 

Further light on the importance of these culturally- 
determined practices with regard to children is thrown by 
the case of those peoples who restrict the infant's physical 
movement, whether by carrying it in a birchbark tube, 
strapping it to a board or swaddling it in clothes. Such peoples 
are often marked by a personality impatient of any restraint 
and reacting with great violence to any restriction of liberty. 
Half a century ago, however, when babies were swaddled to 
a much greater extent than now, it may well have been a 
significant factor in character formation and played its part in 
creating the pathologically individualistic characters which 
abounded in that period. Arthur Bryant, discussing such types, 
tells of one man who directed that spikes be placed on his 
grave so that no one should walk over him. 

In the last chapter we referred to taboos on infantile 
sexuality, especially masturbation, as a powerful formative 
influence, and here again it is obvious that there will be a 
high degree of uniformity throughout a society in the attitude 
of parents to such behaviour. Some societies display such 
taboos; others, like the Trobrianders, accept infantile sexuality 
as natural. 

Uniformity is not always so marked in the case of the 
'reinstatement pattern.' Our own society uses a variety of 
methods of punishment though, on the whole, it prefers 
isolation and deprivation of rewards to shaming or using 
threats, and has recently made much less use of physical pain. 
Other societies are more limited in method; much depends on 
precisely what is regarded as worthy of punishment. In our 
own society, noisy, violent behaviour and damage to property 
are chiefly objected to, and disobedience is not, in itself, a 
very heinous crime; we even admire a certain independence 


Conditions of Happiness 

of spirit in a boy, and regard an absolutely obedient child as 
spiritless. Among the Tanala, in contrast, the whole emphasis 
is on obedience. A moment's reflection will show how largely 
our adult attitudes reflect this pattern: the boor is resented, 
but the unconventional character, who ignores society's minor 
rules, is treated with amused tolerance. Correspondingly, the 
adult Tanala seeks to achieve all his ends by conformity. 

Social patterns may also regulate the formation of the 
super-ego. In societies where the inculcation of socially 
approved behaviour is not reinforced by punishment (including 
withdrawal of affection) or those where no effective emotional 
link develops between child and teacher, it will be weak. 
Indeed, Bateson suggests that the combination of needed 
factors is rather rare, pointing out that in many cultures 
(e.g. Samoa, Lepcha, Bali) the baby is left chiefly in the care 
of a small girl, so that if anything is introjected it will be the 
standards of a juvenile. 1 

The extent to which adult behaviour is modelled by early 
experience, and the extent to which such experience is 
approximately uniform throughout a society is probably quite 
clear by now to the reader. It is not necessary for me to 
elaborate the picture by discussing every possible influence: 
yet there is one more which should be mentioned. Many 
societies have two (or more) contrasting patterns of treatment 
for children. Thus, the Tanala, though they train the majority 
of the children for obedience, treat the first-born male quite 
differently, .and train him for initiative. Similarly, a society 
which supports a slave population will, for a very early age, 
begin to train slave children differently from freemen, 
emphasising obedience and humility for the former, indepen- 
dence and authority for the other. Where this differential 
training becomes of almost universal importance is in the 
distinction between the sexes. The small boy is taught not to 
be Unmanly, 1 the girl to be 'ladylike.' Thus, the natural 
behaviour of each is moulded to match a concept of behaviour 
which may have no basis in nature. How artificial this 
1 G. Bateson, in J. McV. Hunt, op. cit. 

Social Matrix 

behaviour can be is shown by Margaret Mead's famous study. 
She found one society in which both sexes approximated to a 
masculine ideal of behaviour (as we would think) another in 
which both sexes were encouraged to typically female 
behaviour, and a third in which the sex roles were reversed. 1 
But while this is an extreme, it is certainly true that many 
societies, including our own, force upon each sex a role which 
is largely artificial. In the case of our own society we have only 
to compare the Victorian girl with the modern woman to see 
how artificial was the Victorian concept of how a woman 
should behave. And just as the Victorian concept of truly 
feminine behaviour was much more feminine (if one can use 
such an expression) than natural feminine behaviour, so also 
it is probable that our concept of typically masculine behaviour 
is really much more masculine than is natural. The truth is 
that there are masculine and feminine elements in everybody, 
and to insist on suppressing one fraction and emphasising the 
other is an important, but little appreciated, cause of 

As can be seen from this example, many of the influences to 
which we submit children are extremely difficult to detect as 
influences, so much do we take them for granted. To bring 
out this important fact, let me give one further example. It 
has probably never occurred to the reader that the personality 
of western man is permanently conditioned by his being 
brought up in a monogamous family. The Marquesans, how- 
ever, are polygamous, and each wife regards herself as equally 
the mother of all the children, regardless of biology. Similarly, 
each child regards himself as having several equally important 
mothers. So if he is rejected by one mother, he does not 
worry too much: he knows that another will be along in a 
minute to look after him. This attitude is easily detected in 
the adult Marquesan, who rarely treats any disaster as final, 
and to whom the European idea of 'finding the one girl in the 
world for me/ or, in more formal language, the idea of a life- 
long romantic love for one individual, seems completely 
1 M. Mead, op. cit. 

I0 9 

Conditions of Happiness 

mysterious and irrational. 1 Thus, our own idea that the only 
really valid and rewarding relationship is with a single person 
of the opposite sex is simply a conclusion from our childish 
experience, when this was, in fact, the case. We should not be 
too eager to justify this attitude by hasty rationalisations, 
since, in many respects, the Marquesan attitude is much more 
conducive to happiness and peace of mind than our own. 

From such instances we can see why we must speak of a 
basic, and not an overt character structure. All these factors 
interact, and the final overt behaviour is the result of all of 
them. A sense of insecurity, generated by irregular feeding, 
will drive a Tanala first-born to initiative, while it will drive 
a younger son to obedience. In another society, irregular 
feeding may produce resentment against the mother, rather 
than a sense of insecurity, and in another the most careful 
cherishing of the mother. Anal training may lead to stinginess 
or creative generosity, according as the reinstatement pattern 
is based on rewarding good behaviour or punishing bad. The 
concept is an analytical one. 

For our present purpose it is not necessary to study in 
detail how the underlying structure works out in overt 
behaviour: what matters is the realisation that human per- 
sonality is largely, if not wholly, an artefact; and the differences 
in personality between different races is artificially produced 
likewise. It is not a natural phenomenon that the Chinese 
behave differently from us, but the result of childhood 
experience modified, certainly, by cultural patterns and by 
environmental circumstances. 

From this it further follows that there is only one ideal, 

undistorted personality and everyone who differs from this 

mean must be regarded ^as to some extent the victim of 

neurosis. Furthermore, since whole populations undergo, to a 

greater or lesser extent, the same experiences, these whole 

populations are neurotic and we are entitled to speak of 

'cultural neurosis.' This is such a novel and important concept 

that I propose to devote a separate section to it. 

1 R. Linton, op. cit. 


Social Matrix 
in Cultural Neurosis 

Many writers have been struck by the widespread existence 
of neurotic elements in our culture, and now that psychological 
knowledge is being assimilated into comparative anthropology, 
field-workers are beginning to recognise the behaviour of 
other peoples as typically neurotic. There has, therefore, been 
a growing tendency to speak of the neurosis of a whole culture 
(the idea was developed, particularly, in relation to Nazi 
Germany) yet, in the absence of any theory as to the way in 
which such a widespread neurosis could be generated, many 
people have scoffed at the idea and dismissed it as loose thinking. 

Since it is humanly impossible to inspect our own culture 
without bias, it will be best to start by looking at a couple of 
others. First, there are the Dobu, who live in a state of per- 
petual suspicion which, if we observed it in a single individual 
in our own society, we should unhesitatingly diagnose as 
paranoia. So intense is this suspiciousness that the most 
ordinary, friendly acts are consistently interpreted as having 
some subtle and sinister motive. This attitude, which we 
should most certainly regard as a form of insanity, is so 
general among the Dobu, that they regard an unsuspicious, 
friendly individual as weak in the head. 1 

Or let us consider the Kwakiutl of Puget Sound. Unlike 
ourselves, who regard it as natural to spend all our time 
accumulating wealth, the Kwakiutl spend all their time giving 
it away. They devote their best efforts to preparing for, and 
holding, ceremonial feasts or potlatches, at which their most 
precious possession, sperm oil, is poured on to the fire, and 
their largest monetary unit, a copper sheet, is torn in pieces, 
because to do this reflects glory on the individual concerned. 2 

In order to be able to detect similar elements in our own 
culture we need some rules or standards. As was said in the 
last chapter, the characteristic features of a neurotic response 
are that it is rigid i.e. it occurs whether the circumstances 

1 See R. Fortune, op. cit. and A. Kardiner, op, cit. for an analysis 
in the light of psycho-analytic theory. 

* R. Benedict, Patterns of Culture, 1935. 


Conditions of Happiness 

justify it or not and it is disproportionate to the stimulus. 
Suspicion, for instance, is not in itself neurotic. Some circum- 
stances justify suspicion. What is neurotic is to be continually 
suspicious, or to be much more suspicious than the 
circumstances warrant. 

The most prominent of several neurotic elements in our 
own culture is, I suggest, the need to validate the ego a 
need which is more marked in the United States than else- 
where. It is quite normal and unneurotic to work and make 
money with which to support one's family. But to work 
incessantly, subordinating all other interests and modes of 
activity to one's work, to work with frenzied application, day 
after day, is distinctly neurotic. It is because such activity 
reduces his internal tensions that the American businessman 
is impelled to repeat the same pattern day after day. And in 
a wider sense, so is the modern preoccupation with accumu- 
lating goods neurotic. Western man's frenzied pursuit of a 
technological progress which bids fair to undo him is as 
suggestive of neurosis as are the ruinous potlatches of the 
Kwakiutl, the exhausting prestige wars of many Indian tribes, 
or the dangerous self-mutilations of Australian aborigines. 

Such neurotically-determined codes of behaviour undermine 
happiness with double force. Not only is the neurotic unhappy 
when he is among normal people who do not observe his 
customs and taboos or rather, not merely unhappy, but 
disgusted, nauseated and outraged but the normal individual 
is painfully Constrained to unnatural behaviour, if he wishes 
to avoid persecution, when he lives among neurotics: or, if 
he refuses to conform, he is despised and humiliated. 

As is now being more widely recognised, where a whole 
culture is neurotic, it is the abnormals who are thought to be 
neurotic, while the neurotics pass for normal. Just as among 
the Dobu, the paranoiac is regarded as normal, and the 
unsuspicious man as contemptible, half-witted or ill, so among 
ourselves, many of those who pass for neurotic because they 
are uninterested in (let us say) competitive sport or out- 
smarting a business rival are, perhaps, healthy, while it is 


Social Matrix 

among the most successful figures in business, sport and 
public life that we must look for the diseased. 

Since they are really healthy, for such pseudo-neurotics 
there is no cure possible. It is society which must be cured. 
Like the sighted man in the country of the blind, they must 
accept the situation as best they may and subscribe to the 
general errors. 

From this point it is but a short step to realising that such 
a culture will adopt Values' which reflect its neurotic needs. 
It will value sport, or economic success, or the giving of 
potlatches, and all other actions will tend to be judged by 
how far they contribute to such ideals. 

Now values, as I shall argue, are the most powerful determin- 
ants in a culture. So that once irrational values creep in, the 
culture is doomed to unhappiness. But before taking up this 
point, let us complete our review of basic personality formation. 

iv Patriform and Matriform Societies 

As, in the last chapter, I mentioned that two distinct types 
of personality, which I called patriform and matriform, can 
be identified in individuals, according to the parent with 
whom they have identified themselves, it is not unreasonable 
to expect that similar patterns may dominate whole societies. 
And in truth, it is easy to recognise that some cultures are 
authoritarian, conservative and puritanical, while others are 
progressive, co-operative, and free from sexual guilt. 

There are two patterns of behaviour resulting from the 
type of parent identification which we can observe better in 
whole societies than in individuals, since the individual is, in 
any case, much influenced by the cultural environment and 
also because he may hesitate to confess his attitude freely 
when it is at variance to the one approved by the culture: 
I mean the moral code of the culture and its religious beliefs. 
The patriform society regards offences against authority and 
property as the most serious crimes and looks less severely 
on crimes against women. (We can see this pattern in Fascist 

Conditions of Happiness 

Germany.) And it tends to punish such crimes by castration 
or death. (The German interest in the sterilising of alleged 
anti-social persons is significant, as is that of some of our own 
authoritarians.) By contrast, the matriform society regards 
offences against women as most serious and typically punishes 
them by expulsion from the family, i.e. from society. It centres 
the concept of sin on the food supply: that is, it regards failure 
to provide people with the necessities of life as the real crime. 
In contrast, the patriform society centres the idea of sin on 
sex and on desire generally. 

Social history is, in fine, a story of the struggle of matrists 
(if I may borrow a word and provide it with a feminine form) 
against the rigid, authoritarian, puritanical, guilt-burdened 
rule of patrists. Unfortunately, the matristic revolutions are 
always taken over by dispossessed patrists, and invariably end 
in the replacement of one tyranny by another. 1 

Perhaps the most striking aspect of this subject is the 
accuracy with which the religious beliefs of a society reflect 
the polarisation of the personality. As Suttie pointed out, 
patriform societies consistently favour religions centred round 
a god who is conceived as a father, located in the sky i.e. 
above them. Matriform societies worship an Earth Mother 
that is, they conceive the earth as the fruitful source of all 
good things, and engage in some variety of nature- worship, 
or conceive of God as immanent in all things. Religion thus 
provides us with a simple method of determining the 
personality" slant. 

Suttie's observation, I believe, enables us to clear up some 
puzzling features in the history of Christianity features which 
provide a remarkable example of how people twist religion to 
suit the needs of their personality. Coming to a guilt-ridden, 
strongly patriform society, Christ made a tremendous attempt 
to introduce a guilt-free society based on loving co-operation, 
not on authority. He continued, however, to refer to God by 

1 Possibly this provides the factual basis for Kant's intuitively- 
perceived distinction between 'Promethean* and 'Epimethean* types 
of character. 


Social Matrix 

the symbol, familiar to his listeners, of a father. When the 
new religion reached areas which were predominantly matri- 
form, the demand for & mother figure swiftly hoisted the 
Virgin Mary into the key position of protectress and interceder 
with the Father by now no longer conceived as inherently 
merciful and loving. In predominantly patriform areas, there 
was never any need felt for the concept of the Virgin Mary, 
and the religion was swiftly transformed into one of authori- 
tarian type, differing but little from the primitive Jehovahism 
which Christ had sought to displace. 

The forces which determine which attitude is adopted have 
never, so far as I know, been adequately investigated, though 
it can hardly be doubted that they are derived from the 
OEdipal situation. If the child identifies with the father, as 
sons most often do, he will tend to dominate the mother, 
while if he identifies with the mother, he will adopt a more 
passive attitude to the father, and will be 'a mother's boy.' As 
Suttie pointed out with remarkable prevision of the modern 
approach to anthropology, if the father uses force to dominate 
the mother, might will seem to the child the proper method of 
winning approval this goes some way to explain the consistently 
aggressive and belligerent behaviour of patriform societies. 1 
Whereas, if the relationship between the parents is based on 
love, the child can only win its mother's love by a loving 
attitude, including with this a loving attitude to its father. It 
rather looks, therefore, as if the attitude of the father to the 
mother is the chief factor determining the nature of the 
parental identification; and we might even go as far as to 
suggest that the (Edipus complex in its classic form can only 
exist in a patriform society a fact which would line up with 
the weakness of the (Edipus complex among the Trobrianders, 
who are, of course, a matrilineal society. 2 

1 I. Suttie, op. cit. 

8 Robert Briffault's The Mothers : a study of matrilineal and 
matrilocal societies, 1927, gives colour to this view : but the work was 
unfortunately written without psychological factors of this sort in mind, 
and so is often unenlightening. 

Conditions of Happiness 

Suttie also attempted to connect what he called the taboo 
on tenderness with the patriform society. He noticed the 
characteristic embarrassment of many Englishmen at the 
display of tender emotion towards themselves, and pointed out 
how small boys switch abruptly from an unself-conscious, 
affectionate attitude, to one in which all tenderness is stigma- 
tised as 'sloppy' or 'cissy.' He suggested that this 'taboo on 
tenderness' develops whenever the mother has no social 
function other than that of being a mother. If bringing up 
children is her only reason d'etre, she will try and prolong the 
period of their dependence upon her, for otherwise she will 
be useless, unwanted, and bored. The children react from this 
dependence to the other extreme, in their attempts to break 
free. It is not tenderness, but too much tenderness, which 
they are escaping from. This analysis seems to be borne out 
by the fact that the taboo on tenderness is far stronger in those 
sections of society where women lead lives of rather empty 
leisure than where they have a job, or have so many children 
that they are only too glad to let them become independent. 

Here, once more, we have a vicious circle. The patriform 
personality tends to put women in a subordinate position in 
society, and this position leads them to drive their children 
into patriform attitudes. Of course, the matriform attitude may 
produce patriform offspring, too : for if the woman is so pre- 
occupied with her work that she neglects her children, they 
may disguise their frustrated desire by reacting on the sour- 
grapes principle. The core of the matter is that we are up 
against the biological fact that a child's first emotional 
relationships are with its mother. If these fail or turn sour, 
we are liable to get the patriform personality. The sad fact is 
that such relationships very often do fail, and that is partly 
why we have so many aggressive, authoritarian, patriform 
societies in the world today. 

Summing up the argument so far, then, we see that per- 
sonality is, to a quite surprising extent, a product of forces in 
the cultural environment. To change personality, to improve 
it, we must change the customs which mould it. Many writers 


Social Matrix 

in the past have argued that personality was affected by 
environment, but always in a quite general way. What 
Professor Kardiner has done, is to make the nature of that 
interdependence perfectly precise; in so doing, he has, 
perhaps, opened a new chapter in the history of human 

Important as are the customs which mould the developing 
personality, they are not the only customs, and so we must 
now consider culture in more general terms. What makes a 
culture good or bad, and how does it originate ? 

v Harmful Culture Elements 

While customs such as we have been considering exert an 
indirect effect on behaviour by modifying the personality 
structure, all customs regulate behaviour directly, and their 
influence plays a far greater part in our lives than we are 
accustomed to recognise. The word summons up the idea of 
rather trivial conventions, such as whether we drive on the 
left or the right, whether we shake hands or rub noses, but in 
reality, customs affect our happiness intimately, as in our 
custom of monogamy, to take a single instance. 

It is, therefore, worth our while to consider in general terms 
the ways in which culture-items may be unsatisfactory. Some 
are obvious, and I shall mention them only briefly. 

Evidently a custom ought to be well adapted to fulfilling 
its ostensible purpose. To build houses of mud or make 
ploughs of wood is less effective than to make houses of stone 
and ploughs of steel. Such instances are very apparent, because 
we have already adopted better solutions; this must not lead 
us to overlook the fact that many of our customs are highly 
inefficient, yet we are hardly aware of their inefficiency. To 
take a crude instance, the House of Commons has no internal 
telephone system, and sends all its messages by hand. A more 
serious instance of our reluctance to adopt valuable customs 
was the continued refusal, until the government's big campaign 
during the war, to adopt the immunisation of babies against 


Conditions of Happiness 

diphtheria, a refusal which has cost many thousands of lives. 
A slightly less obvious case occurs when a society adopts 
customs which may, perhaps, be perfectly efficient as regards 
their confessed purpose, but which, all unbeknownst, obstruct 
a basic need at another level or in another sphere. I say 'all 
unbeknownst/ because the danger is not appreciated in prim- 
itive and unself-conscious cultures. In the case of our 
highly conscious and analytic culture, what usually seems to 
happen is that the danger is not appreciated at first, but later 
begins to dawn on people. Even then, it is a long time before 
people consent to change their habits. For instance, both men 
and women have, in almost every part of the world, at one 
time or another, adopted customs of a more or less painful or 
dangerous character in order to be admired. From the native 
who cicatrises his skin to the Edwardian beauty with her 
wasp waist ; from the Turkish harem girl, over-eating in order 
to be fat, to the western woman starving herself to be slim, 
people have risked their health, and even their life, to win 

From the viewpoint of the individual concerned, the action 
was not necessarily stupid. If men do, at a given period, 
admire thinness, it is advantageous to women to make them- 
selves as thin as possible. But obviously, in the long view, 
such expedients are not necessary. It is quite possible to have 
societies in which women of normal figure are admired, and 
cultures which demand the biologically abnormal are clearly 
introducing unnecessary obstacles to happiness. In a moment 
I shall try and explain how it is that cultures make these 
absurd demands, but first let us continue cataloguing the 
ways in which culture elements can be undesirable. 

In the case just considered, a physical need was thwarted 
in order to meet an emotional need, but the reverse situation 
is much more serious. Psychical needs are often frustrated in 
order to meet physical ones: for instance, a man may take a 
job which he finds frustrating to his sense of mastery and 
creativity, or which he finds degrading, in order to ensure 
that he can afford to eat and have a roof over his head. In our 


Social Matrix 

own culture, as I shall shortly show, in more detail, we have 
many customs designed to raise our material standard of 
living which obstruct emotional, aesthetic and spiritual needs. 

These psychical frustrations are doubly dangerous, inasmuch 
as they may permanently distort the character, and thus make 
it permanently impossible for the victim to live a satisfactory 
existence as regards his psychical needs. 

The worst feature of these cultural legacies, however, is 
that it is almost impossible to escape them. We are born into 
a culture and must, to a very large extent, accept the practices 
we find in it, even when we can see them to be dangerous. 
In a society which holds that woman's place is the home, or 
that sexual experience is wicked, we can only defy these 
limitations at the cost of so much disapproval, that it is 
questionable whether it is worth kicking over the traces. 

The second way in which customs and beliefs can cause 
unnecessary unhappiness is by generating unnecessary guilt or 
anxiety. Really, this is not a distinct category from the one 
just mentioned so much as a different way of looking at the 
subject. The culture prescribes what we shall think and do, 
and penalties for those who do not conform. So whenever we 
do not conform, we feel anxious or guilty. Now it is, by and 
large, desirable that a man shall feel guilty when he has 
committed a real crime against a fellow man or men but it 
is pure waste of spirit for people to feel guilty about breaking 
stupid or meaningless taboos. The savage who dies of terror 
because he has inadvertently looked upon the face of the King 
at the time when to do so is forbidden, is only the extreme 
case of a situation which affects all of us. The schoolboy who 
feels anxious because he has walked on a strip of ground 
reserved for prefects, or the suburban housewife who is 
embarrassed because her lavatory cistern is heard discharging 
in the middle of dinner, are making themselves miserable for 
reasons which, sub specie aternitatis, are futile and meaningless. 
Whether we say that we hold the belief that it is wicked to 
look upon the King (or turn our back on him, if you prefer a 
domestic example) or whether we say more mildly that it is 


Conditions of Happiness 

the custom not to do so, is immaterial. The point is that such 
futile culture elements cause unhappiness to those who 
observe them, and feelings of guilt in those who ignore or 
transgress against them. 

This raises the question of how we come to adopt customs, 
and why we sometimes adopt such irrational ones. 

VI Origin of Culture Elements 

The most obvious of the reasons why societies often adopt 
unsatisfactory beliefs and customs is sheer lack of forethought 
or inventive ability, as in the case of the mud- walled house. 
This is probably the biggest single influence, but it is quite 
straightforward, and we need not consider it further. 

By an extension we can also consider here the very common 
case of meeting a cultural need by borrowing from another 
culture, and the case of adapting an item originally devised 
for one purpose to serve another. A well-known example of 
this is the handshake, which was originally adopted as a 
precaution in a period when all men went armed with daggers, 
and has been retained because there are advantages in having 
a formalised mode of greeting. This is typical of the uncritical 
way in which many culture items originate. They are not 
consciously devised for a purpose, like a plough or a house, 
but grow up, or are adopted or retained by a myriad 
unthinking decisions. 

Perhaps -the next most obvious source of unsatisfactory 
customs is changing circumstances, which render old customs 
futile, or even dangerous. To take a rather picturesque 
instance: it was until recently the case that the newly-elected 
President of the United States could not take power for four 
months after election, in order to allow time for delegates 
from the remotest States to reach the capital a fact which 
caused serious consequences in 1933, when many American 
banks crashed during the interregnum because there was no 
one at the helm to take remedial action. This is a specialised 
example, but it is not too difficult to think of serious modern 


Social Matrix 

instances of old customs proving inadequate, and of failure 
to replace them by new ones. It is the combination of a 
conservative attitude with a changing environment which is 
at fault. 

From these simple matters let us turn to something a little 
more complex. 

Men do not choose cultural items (whether consciously or 
by general unconscious consent) simply upon their merits, 
or their suitability for the end in view, even within the rather 
limited range of possibilities which their imaginations make 
available to them. Their choice is further restricted by their 
feeling that such items must not contravene certain established 
'moral' principles. I put the word moral in quotation marks 
to indicate that men feel that there is something inherently 
right in them, although closer examination often shows that 
they are not based on any coherent ethical scheme at all. 
Similarly, their choice is limited by the nature of the universe 
as they understand it, the 'facts' of existence, as they conceive 
them. Whether this conditioning belief is quasi-scientific or 
quasi-moral, it is accepted as an unquestionable fact. 

For instance, men work in order to satisfy material needs, 
and they adopt customs regulating their work so as to satisfy 
these needs the more effectively. But if they believe that women 
should not work, or that they should only do domestic work, 
all their customs will be restricted to the case of male labour. 
Or, to take the case of values, if they set a high value on 
individual freedom, they will exclude certain methods of 
regulating work as inconsistent with this valuation. 

Thus, values and beliefs exercise a powerful determining 
influence on the type of customs and institutions we adopt. 
Now if the beliefs held in a given culture are incorrect or 
irrational or if the values are irrationally based this will 
effect a quite unnecessary limitation of the customs selected, 
excluding many which might be useful, and even leading to 
the adoption of futile practices. For instance, the African 
who believes that you can acquire a quality such as courage by 
eating the heart of a creature possessing it, will pursue lions 

C.H. 9 121 

Conditions of Happiness 

in order to obtain and eat their hearts. If he is injured or killed 
so doing, that is a cause of unnecessary unhappiness, since the 
risk was, in reality, taken in vain. Afid if he chooses to pursue 
other men in order to eat them with a similar object in view, 
this is obviously an even more serious source of unhappiness. 
History and anthropology provide us with many examples 
of customs based on mistaken beliefs about the nature of the 
universe, and with even more based on faulty values. All the 
elaborate apparatus of Nazi ideology was based on the belief 
that the State was more important than the individual with 
what dire consequences for human happiness we all know 
too well. 

vii The Basis of Culture: Values 

Since values are so important, it is worth considering them 
in more detail. 

Clearly, the values obtaining in a society do more than 
limit the type of custom adopted; they govern, to a great 
extent, the whole character of the behaviour of its members. 
Thus, in a society which places a high value on physical fitness 
and skill, many people will be predisposed to try and gain the 
public approval they need by excelling in some sporting 
activity. If, on the other hand, a society despises sport and 
values art, we shall expect to find a majority of its members 
seeking to develop their artistic abilities. 

To the reader unfamiliar with sociology, this will seem like 
putting the cart before the horse. People pursue sporting 
activities because they enjoy them, they will object, and the 
statement that their society values sport is merely a conclusion 
from how they behave. Thus, values are dictated by actions, 
and not actions by values, as you suggest. But this is not 
altogether true. As I argued at the beginning of this chapter, 
people do accept many of their valuations ready made, and 
model their actions to suit. 

The extraordinary thing is how uncritically we accept our 
values. So much so that we rarely consider the possibility of 


Social Matrix 

holding any other attitude. For instance, if we explain our 
habit of carrying umbrellas by saying that they keep us dry, 
we tacitly imply that physical comfort is a good thing, i.e. we 
commit ourselves to a valuation. The possibility that it might 
be better to get wet and be uncomfortable hardly occurs to 
us. Yet such an attitude is not inevitable, as is shown by the 
fact that only a few hundred years ago in Britain the abhor- 
rence of comfort extended in some people to self-flagellation 
and the wearing of hair shirts. Presumably a penitential friar 
would not have been a good sales prospect for an umbrella. 1 

Owing to this tendency to accept values as being above 
question it is necessary to infer a people's values from what 
they do, rather than what they say. Thus, we may note that 
in a certain society the men are very reluctant to marry 
women who have had previous sexual experience, although we 
may not hear the word virgin so much as mentioned. By the 
same token, values are transmitted to children much less by 
direct instruction than by example. Indeed, it may sometimes 
happen that formal instruction is directly contrary to practised 
values. A child born into our own culture inevitably notices 
the vast part played by distractions' ; that is, entertainments in 
which the person entertained takes no active part, and comes 
to assume that time should be spent in being distracted, 
although this view is not formally taught. 

Not only actions, but beliefs and dreams are clues to codes 
of value. A society which rations food, which believes that food 
has magical or therapeutic or religious significance, and whose 
members link food with status or tend to dream about 
incidents involving food, can be described as a society which 
values food, even if it is thought bad form to discuss it. 
(Substitute the word sex for food in the previous sentence, 
and you have a description which can be applied to our own 

Values are transmitted chiefly by implication. Every film, 

1 Though when such practices have become institutionalised and 
the original fervour of conviction has evaporated many such incon- 
gruities of behaviour develop. 


Conditions of Happiness 

book, newspaper article or broadcast intentionally or not 
implies a scheme of values and influences the public towards 
the acceptance of those values. When*(as in a recent film) the 
heroine sings a ditty asserting that no one remembers intel- 
lectual girls, but that success comes to those who use their 
sex-appeal, the implied valuation is that intellectual achieve- 
ment is not of value, while sexual achievement is. 

I do not propose to broach the subject of what are good and 
bad values at this point, since the whole book is, in effect, a 
contribution to the difficult task of adjusting our value system, 
but there is one rather specialised way in which value systems 
can cause unhappiness which requires to be mentioned. I refer 
to the question of their internal consistency. 

Situations not infrequently arise in which people find it 
hard to know which of two values or principles to take as 
their guide. 

For instance, a man faced with the need to disclose a fact 
which would hurt someone else, might have adopted as a 
principle * Always tell the truth/ in which case he would 
speak up, or he might have adopted the principle, * Spare 
other people pain/ in which case he would tell some form of 
lie or evasion. Quite often, however, cases arise in which two 
standards conflict, and a person who has adopted both of them 
(as might well happen in the instance quoted) finds himself 
in a dilemma. 

Such dilemmas are often extraordinarily painful. We can 
begin to appreciate the fact if we look at the dream, which is 
based very largely on such dilemmas; interest in it consists 
for many people almost entirely in studying how other people 
have worked out the dilemma for themselves. The man who 
owes a duty to his family and also to his country which shall 
he serve? The man who owes a duty to himself and to 
another shall he put himself into difficulties or deny himself 
a prize in order to save the other person? The person who 
pities someone for their sad history, but dislikes them for their 
disagreeable habits what shall he do ? 

Some such dilemmas are unavoidable, but there are many 


Social Matrix 

which could be avoided by working out a coherent philosophy 
of life. 

Some of the dilemmts caused in this way are not due to 
mere difficulty of knowing how to apply a scheme of valuation, 
but are due to the existence of definitely contradictory valua- 
tions. For individual values may be collected into harmonious 
families: thus, there may be a whole code of values built 
around the idea of selfish behaviour and another contradictory 
set built around the idea of ruthless egotism. Or again, a whole 
set of beliefs and values can be erected on the proposition 
that the State is more important than the individual, and a 
contrary set on the reverse proposition. If an individual adopts 
a consistent set of valuations, he reduces the number of moral 
dilemmas in which he is likely to find himself to the minimum, 
but if through unthinking adoption of his values he acquires 
elements from several different systems, he is bound to run 
into trouble. 

In our own culture this inconsistency is quite marked. In 
particular, we propagate one set of values based on the idea 
of unselfish behaviour and giving way to other people, and 
another based on the idea of personal success: we admire 
economic and political success and despise economic failure. 
Consequently, people often find themselves in situations where 
they have to sacrifice one or the other. They often try to meet 
this by adopting two codes of behaviour, one for business life 
and another for social contacts, but it is not always possible 
to maintain the separation: as we revealingly say, personal 
considerations sometimes 'intrude* into business. 

In short, such conflicts are not a mere matter of chance, 
but are due to lack of organisation in the sphere of values. 
The task of working out the organisation of values is known 
as ethics, and it is a singular criticism of our culture that we 
regard it as a theoretical pursuit fit only to pass the time of 
philosophers in universities. In reality, ethics is of the most 
urgent practical interest, and we cannot hope to get our value 
system tidied up until we devote the same enthusiasm and 
attention to it that we devote to other technical problems. 


Conditions of Happiness 

(This is not to say that our incoherent values are due simply 
to intellectual errors. On the contrary, as we shall see in a 
moment, they are caused by active, ierational elements in our 
minds, and we shall have to neutralise these forces if we are 
to reconstitute our values. But having neutralised them, 
intellectual effort will be needed to fill the gap left by the 
collapse of the old irrationally-derived values.) 

Generalising these remarks, we may say that a culture is 
required to be consistent in itself. This concept of cultural 
consistency was first demonstrated by Malinowski, but the 
application of it in the field of values is, I believe, a new one, 
and more work needs to be done on it. When a culture is 
divided so that its values fall into two clear groups divided, 
that is, by a conflict of values at a fundamental level we 
may speak of cultural bifurcation. Such a description would 
cover, in broad terms, the conflict between totalitarian and 
individualist ideals such as existed in Germany in 1932.! 
When the conflicts exist at many levels of complexity, so that 
different customs conflict within quite narrow sections of the 
culture, owing to differences in specific, derived beliefs and 
values (compare, for instance, the contemporary value put on 
safe driving and on having a fast car) we can speak of cultural 
chaos. Our own culture is in such a state. 

However, it must not be concluded that a culture which is 
consistent within itself is necessarily well adapted to happiness. 
It will be stable, but that is not enough. Many stable, but 
unhappy, cultures are known to anthropologists. Cultural 
patterns must be based on values which are well chosen with 
regard to man's nature and the nature of the universe. 

Faulty beliefs and values are not, however, always caused 
by innocent error by a mere technical failure to analyse the 
universe correctly. Very often they are brought into existence 
by irrational that is, emotional forces, and especially by 

1 No real-life case has the simplicity of a theoretical example, and 
Germany, in 1932, was certainly split to a lesser extent along several 
other planes, as well as being in an advanced state of cultural chaos 


Social Matrix 

unconscious emotional fbrces, more particularly those we have 
defined as neurotic. Let us now see how this occurs. 

vin Genesis of Values 

As with institutions, values arise because certain attitudes 
prove rewarding. (In applying this dictum we must again 
always remember that psychological comfort is more important 
to us than physical comfort.) If values can be defined as what 
people feel they need, then the formation of 'bad* values is 
due to the same causes as the formation of 'bad' institutions: 
that is, failure to take account of long-range consequences, 
failure to abandon obsolete patterns, and readiness to cater for 
non-valid needs. If human sacrifice is a 'bad' institution, then 
admiration for human sacrifice is a 'bad' value. 

But values are subject to a further order of error, since 
they can get out of step with institutions. For instance, a 
'bad' institution, having become obsolete, may be dropped, 
but the attitude of approval may persist for some time after- 
wards, just as confirmed Nazis continue to value totalitarianism 
after the formal break-up of the Nazi regime. Indeed, such 
attitudes may even flourish more robustly in such circum- 
stances, since the evils of the institution can be conveniently 
forgotten, and only the more attractive features remembered 
through a rosy glow of illusion. Conversely, men may convince 
themselves of the value of institutions never yet seen, as 
revolutionaries commonly do when planning a new order of 
society. It is a general truth that values precede action, rather 
than follow it. And this leads to the highly important con- 
clusion that we should seek to achieve reforms by changing 
values, rather than by trying to control actions. 

This practice is often followed, of course. Those who wish 
to introduce legislation making divorce harder (shall we say) 
naturally try and foster the attitude that divorce is a damnable 
institution. Unfortunately, it is a very slow method, and it 
may be impossible to create the required attitude in a majority 
of the population. The determined reformer is then tempted 


Conditions of Happiness 

to resort to introducing the legislation first, and trying to 
bring values into line after. This is what we mean by anti- 
democratic or 'Fascist* methods. 

But it would be quite wrong to suppose that the origin of 
values is always rational. Clearly, every society will unhesita- 
tingly adopt or invent culture items which subserve or relieve 
its neurotic needs, though it may not do so consciously. In 
choosing between one of several ways of achieving some 
practical end, it will all unconsciously favour the one which 
meets these neurotic needs which provides it with a sense of 
security, relieves its guilt, or whatever it may be. Indeed, 
more than this, it may, still all unconsciously, adopt a custom 
purely for neurotic reasons: but because it does not recognise 
or admit the reasons, it will be driven to provide 'rationalisa- 
tions' reasonable-seeming excuses for its conduct. For 
instance, a tribe which projects its aggression and relieves its 
guilt by human sacrifice may rationalise the action by saying 
it is demanded by a god or powerful spirit. Or a people which 
devotes excessive enthusiasm to sport, because sport subserves 
its need for ego-validation, may rationalise it by saying that 
sport is valuable for health, or for inculcating 'the team spirit.' 

Such irrational valuations are widespread. The African 
political parties 1 which value excision of the clitoris so highly 
that their political slogan is 'Clitoridectomy, Communism, 
and better education!' no more understand the root of their 
attitude than the European who believes his wife should be a 
virgin when he marries her. The more intensely we hold to 
a valuation, the more likely it is that our attitude is energised 
by a neurotic need. Correspondingly, it follows that any 
change of custom which alters the basic personality will also 
alter our values. Indeed, we can go further, and say that no 
attempt to change values is likely to be effective unless we do 
change basic personalities. The Nazis knew this and sought 
to produce cruel, aggressive personalities by harsh treatment 
of the young, in order that the values of ruthlessness and 

1 e.g. The Kikuyu Central Association; see B. Malinowski, The 
Dynamics of Culture Change t (ed. P. M. Kaberry), 1945. 


Social Matrix 

power which they taught might take root. The only variant of 
this principle which may occur is when a basic personality is 
already predisposed to *find value in some new institution. 
The guilt-loaded personalities of the ancient world were easy 
meat for a guilt-relieving religion such as Christianity. It 
follows that it is futile to preach internationalism and 
co-operation in a world which contains large numbers of 
people who have identified on their fathers and acquired an 
authoritarian approach to life. 


I Nature of Society n Function and Status in Types of Status 

iv Determination of Status-Base v Society as an Organism 

vi Conditions of Happiness 

I Nature of Society 

WHAT, technically speaking, is the difference between a 
society and a mass, between a group and a mob? 

It is this: each individual in a group is aware of the other 
individuals as individuals; he recognises each one as in some 
way distinct from all the others; he feels liking, hatred, fear, 
jealousy, contempt or respect for each, or some combination of 
these or at the very least, he feels curiosity or a sense of 
possible emotional development concerning each. In a mob, on 
the other hand, no such emotional links exist. When we 
consider societies which contain within themselves many groups, 
the picture becomes more complex. No individual knows all the 
members, and some of his emotional reactions are directed 
towards groups rather than individuals. Nevertheless, the same 
principle holds good: a society is shot through with personal, 
emotional relations and is, what's more, dependent for its 
stability and continued existence on the presence of such 
emotional links. In a mass, on the other hand, these linkages are 
either non-existent, or they have become confined within certain 
areas of the whole, so that the society is composed of groups 
which, though perhaps tightly knit internally, are separated 
from one another by chasms across which no links stretch. Such 
a society is in imminent danger of coming apart, and can only be 
held together by special techniques which do not concern us here. 

^It will be clear then that society is something quite distinct 
from culture. Culture is the system of ideas, habits, values and 
beliefs which are handed down from generation to generation 


Functioning Society 

(while being gradually Inodified) within a society. Culture is 
thus an important influence on behaviour and thus on man's 
chances of attaining hapfKness. Society, on the other hand, is a 
source of rewards in itself. % 

The importance of these emotional responses in the scheme 
of happiness is often lost sight of today, because many people 
believe that men form themselves into groups for purely 
practical reasons: merely because together they can produce 
more goods or protect themselves more easily from attack. It 
is true that many groups are formed initially for practical 
purposes. But we note that such groups, once formed, often 
continue long after the practical purpose has ceased to exist. 
Old Boys' Societies and Regimental Clubs are typical of the 
attempts which such groups make to survive. Nor does the 
member of a functional group, say, a cricket club, resign the 
moment he ceases to have a function. If he can no longer play 
cricket, he will often seek to justify his continued membership 
of the group by finding a substitute function, perhaps as one 
of the officials of the club. 

So powerful are these emotional considerations that they may 
come to override every consideration of self-interest, as we see 
in cases of patriotic self-sacrifice. I am sure it is true to say that 
if, in some exceptional circumstances, a collection of people had 
no common functional purpose whatever, they would still form 
themselves into a group. Man, in fact, is a social animal. He is 
not happy in isolation, and gets to know his fellow men primarily 
because he finds such personal relations rewarding in themselves. 

It is worth our exploring the emotional structure of groups 
a little, because many contemporary problems and much 
unhappiness originate from defects in this structure. 

II Function and Status 

Because groups normally have a practical purpose, it follows 
that each member normally has a function. Groups will rarely 
tolerate the presence of functionless members, who draw bene- 
fits from the group without contributing to its purpose. In 

Conditions of Happiness 

fulfilling his function each individual acquires a rating in the 
eyes of the other members based on the value of the contribution 
he makes. This rating we call his prestige or status. 1 Thus the 
best cricketer in a cricket club will normally have the highest 
status of any of the members. Status is thus a measure of a special 
type of public approval and goodwill which we win by our merits. 

When we raise the discussion from the level of a small group 
like a club to society as a whole the picture necessarily becomes 
more complicated. Our standard of judgment broadens, and 
we do not necessarily accept the judgment of the small group : 
which depends chiefly on some single aptitude. The most 
skilled member of the Magician's Circle, I am sure, enjoys high 
status among magicians but must be content with lower rank 
in the estimation of society as a whole. But the main outline 
remains the same. Status of this kind is an extremely important 
source of happiness. All normal people attach great store to 
public approval and feel lack of status as a serious deprivation. 

It should also be noted that status is something quite distinct 
from and independent of the evaluation one individual makes 
of another's value to him personally. A man who is generally 
disliked as an individual may yet enjoy a high status on the 
strength of his contribution to the community. 2 Competent 

1 The relations between individuals within a group tend to become 
'institutionalised.' There grows up a popular conception of how a son 
ought to behave towards his father, an employee towards his boss, 
or a host towards his guest. It has become customary to refer to the 
appropriate behaviour as a role and to the position which calls for such 
behaviour abstains, so that we make such a comment as : 'in his status 
of guest, he should not have criticised his host's taste in decoration.' 
This specialised use of the word status is not employed in this book. 

2 A story which illustrates this point, and also shows how status 
comes to depend on obsolete indications, as mentioned below, is told 
by Whitehead : a new hand joined a works where status had long 
depended on skill with the cold chisel, although this tool had in modern 
times been replaced by power machinery. He aroused considerable 
dislike as an individual, but the men reserved their verdict until a 
break in the work, when they gathered to watch the new hand demon- 
strate his skill with the traditional tool. He did this very successfully 
and ever after retained respect as a man who 'certainly knows his cold 
chisel.' (See T. N. Whitehead, Leadership in a Free Society, 1936.) 


Functioning Society 

doctors, for instance, always enjoy high status because their 
value is recognised, even when excessively brusque in manner. 

Other forms of status exist it is true, but I shall come to them 
in a moment. But first let me comment on function and status 
as we have so far identified them. 

One of the great errors of nineteenth century treatments was 
to suppose that the performance of function is a tribute which 
man unwillingly pays for the privilege of membership in society. 
This is quite wrong. It is a valued privilege in itself. We all 
know how anxious a small child is to help in the activities 
around it. In this there is no doubt an element of the mastery 
drive and an element of satisfaction in being wanted; and 
perhaps there is something else, something in the nature of a 
wish to serve. To be deprived of function to be unemployed, 
as we say is inherently thwarting. And since to be deprived 
of function is to be deprived of status, it is doubly distressing. 

It is, therefore, an essential condition of happiness that society 
shall provide function and status for its members. This our own 
society is very far from doing. The unemployed man is threat- 
ened not only with starvation but with loss of function and 
status, and in some senses this is the more serious loss, 
permanently undermining his character. 

Though, in the years following the 1931 depression, a 
beginning was made with studying the psychological cost of 
unemployment, hardly any attention has been given to the case, 
psychologically similar, of futile or degrading employment. The 
girl engaged in making some ridiculous knick-knack, the man 
engaged in compounding some worthless specific, like the 
burglar and the stockbroker, must inevitably be haunted by a 
sense of something missing. Obscurely, they must appreciate 
that their work fails to give them a genuine functional status. 1 

1 The criminal, or the man preying on society just within the pale 
of the law, must also be irked by the same feeling. The vast benefac- 
tions of the shadier industrial millionaires probably represent an 
attempt, belated indeed, to win back their status. It may be added that 
to bestow public honours on such men is a very unwise course, 
since it undermines the most important sanction on anti-social 

Conditions of Happiness 

Society is failing in one of its most vital purposes whenever 
it fails to provide function and status for all its members. But 
the fault is not always society's. OWing to our lack of under- 
standing of the subject, many people voluntarily relinquish 
function and cannot imagine what makes their life so empty. 
I refer, of course, to those who are so rich that they need not 
work, and thereupon choose not to. This applies with increasing 
force to women, whose domestic duties become steadily lighter, 
and who are often able to delegate some, or all of them, to 
servants. They then try and fill in their tedious leisure with 
cinemas, bridge, flirtations or other distractions. The wisest 
among them undertake voluntary work or public duties, but 
this tradition grows weaker as the number of people placed in 
such a position grows. 

Since the subject of status is so little understood, I propose to 
develop it a little at this point. 

in Types of Status 

The status which derives naturally from function may be 
called functional status. There are, however, various other 
standards by which status may be measured, notably power, 
wealth and birth. Between functional and non-functional status 
systems there is an important difference. In power, birth and 
wealth systems only a small number of people can have high 
status ; some must be at the bottom of the scale, a humiliating 
position. Sjuch hierarchical systems are therefore always more 
or less frustrating. Only a few people can achieve widespread 
success, most will be in receipt of less respect than they would 
wish, while a few will receive none. In contrast, a functional 
status system contains room for all. Respect for father as the 
breadwinner does not take away from respect for mother, whose 
claims are based on different ground. The best dentist in the 
community is not the less respected because someone else is the 
best ploughman. Hence functional status systems are produc- 
tive both of less rivalry and more satisfaction than power or 
wealth systems. 

FUJ ctioning Society 

There is, however, a farther criterion by which we must judge 
status systems : that of security. By this standard, status systems 
based on wealth are very Unsatisfactory. It is at all times possible 
to lose wealth, frequently through no fault of one's own. 
Physical injury, old age, obscure economic forces may transform 
a man's position within a very short time, leaving him, after 
a life of high status, to drag out a dishonoured old age. Systems 
based on rank, on the other hand, are extremely secure: too 
secure, really, since a man may continue to enjoy status even 
when, through some moral deterioration, he no longer deserves 
it. Only functional status systems provide security combined 
with adaptability. Since people continue in a stable, integrated 
community to honour a man for his past achievements, he loses 
no status in his old age or if he is injured, unless he acts in such 
a way as to dissipate public respect. 

Recently, the theory has been put forward that the ideal type 
of status is 'mobile status.' This view originates in the United 
States and represents an attempt to justify the American status 
pattern as against the European. According to this theory, 
European status systems (which are hereditary) are unsatis- 
factory because it is impossible for those not born into high 
rank to rise into it, whereas the American status system, based 
on wealth and notoriety, offers high place to all who are ruthless 
enough or skilful enough or lucky enough to get there. 

But, as has been pointed out, if you can move up you can also 
move down, so that the American status system is a source of 
much anxiety, whereas the European status system, while not 
really quite so immobile as depicted, offers considerable security. 
In reality, the American status system is much inferior to the 
European, but its worst defects have been concealed during the 
past century by a fortunate accident. Owing to the great influx 
of immigrants, and the rapidly expanding population and 
national income, it has been the general experience of Americans 
to move up, rather than down, the status scale. Hence the 
advantages of mobility have been seen, but not its disadvan- 
tages. 1 When, in 1933, considerable numbers were compelled, 
1 This point has been made by M. Mead, The American Character, 1 942. 


Conditions of Happiness 

temporarily, to move down the scale, (anxiety and resentment 
were enormous. 

If you cannot have a truly functional status system it is 
probably better, therefore, to select a hereditary system and 
equip it with a number of ladders by which persons of excep- 
tional talent can move up, than to choose one based on power 
or wealth. 

I said just now that status was apt to be erected on non- 
functional bases and this raises the question of how this occurs. 

iv Determination of Status-Base 

It is a matter of no little practical importance to discover what 
induces societies to adopt non-functional status-bases. As far 
as I know, the subject has not been explored, but it would seem 
that at least two main forces are at work, one overt, the other 

In the first place, it is clear that people bestow their approval 
in accordance with their scheme of values. A group which 
values a sport will naturally honour sportsmen to a far greater 
extent than an intellectual group would, and vice versa. 
Correspondingly, if a society bestows respect on those who have 
accumulated wealth it is because the people of that society think 
the accumulation of wealth a worthwhile aim and make it their 
principal object. Valuations of this kind, as we have seen, can 
be traced to a psychological base : they are expressions of the 
basic personality structure. 

It is interesting to note, however, that the erection of arbitrary 
status-bases does not have the effect of completely destroying 
functional status, at least where the function is evident. Even in 
a system devoted to wealth and power we find that the doctor 
and the nurse are generally respected, because their value to 
the community and the individual is obvious : even in our own 
society it is probably true to say that doctors enjoy higher 
prestige than, say, the proprietors of greyhound racing tracks, 
even though the latter are distinctly wealthier. 

Distinct, however, from the erection of alternative status- 


Functioning Society 

bases we must note the tendency of functional status to deter- 
iorate. In the incident mentioned in a footnote a few pages back 
we saw how steelworkers Continued to assess a man's worth by 
his skill with the cold chisel after it had been replaced by modern 
machinery. Here an overt sign of status has persisted and con- 
tinues to carry weight long after the functional meaning has 
vanished. (The explanation, no doubt, was that the new 
machinery was so largely automatic that it afforded no oppor- 
tunity to demonstrate skill, and so the old method was retained 

Within the small group, in which everyone knows everyone 
else, such deterioration is uncommon. But in society at large, 
it is easy. Because we cannot possibly know everyone personally 
we have to accept their status badges, such as titles, without 
question and even have to infer status from speech, clothing or 
possessions. If status badges are obtained by corrupt means, 
we cannot easily discover the deception. We are easily led into 
wrong inferences from secondary signs, such as clothes. Indeed, 
so complex are some modern activities, (such as administration 
or finance), that we can hardly judge whether a man has 
performed them well or ill, even when we know the facts. 
This weakening of functional status strengthens the hand of 
the non-functional types which are competing with it. 

The problem becomes acute when status is made hereditary. 
In the past, people could be persuaded that the son of a worthy 
father was himself likely to be more than ordinarily worthy. 
Today we know there is little or no basis for any belief in the 
inheritance of nobility and we no longer feel any real respect 
for the inheritors of status badges, whether titles, power or 
'wealth. Yet the badges persist, and out of mental inertia we 
continue half-heartedly to honour them. 

This decay of status reaches an extreme stage in the modern 
mass society, which is so large that personal acquaintance with 
more than a fragment of the population is impossible. Hence 
opinion tends to be based overwhelmingly on such meretricious 
evidence as wealth or power. Modern status systems are there- 
fore almost wholly non-functional. 


Conditions of Happiness 

Now status is not only an attributj;, it is a sanction. In the 
small community, every member is strongly constrained to avoid 
anti-social action for fear of loss of status, culminating, if neces- 
sary, in ostracism. In the mass society, anti-social individuals 
can shelter behind the anonymity of joint-stock companies and, 
through them, can operate in zones far removed geographically 
and socially from those in which they live. Mass society has lost 
the most powerful of the instruments by which society main- 
tains its cohesion. 

v Society as an Organism 

This brings us up against the third element in the emotional 
structure of society: purpose. Since people come together in 
groups with some purpose in view, it is essential to their 
happiness and to the continued existence of their group that 
their common purpose should be satisfactorily fulfilled. The 
members of a cricket club which, for lack of equipment, is 
unable to play any games are bound to feel frustrated; they 
will also feel frustrated if the executive committee fails to 
arrange suitable matches, to fix them for days which suit the 
convenience of members, and so on. 

The common purpose of the members of society as a whole is 
the maximisation of individual happiness in its broadest sense. 
Consequently, great dissatisfaction will arise whenever those 
who administer society fail to administer it so as to maximise 
happiness or are thought to do so. That is a statement in 
sociological terms of all the unrest and dissatisfaction with 
political and economic organisation which is rife in the world 
today. It is necessary to make it in order to stress that this 
dissatisfaction is something over and above any direct unhappi- 
ness caused by maladministration itself. It is one thing to be 
hungry because their is no food, quite another to be hungry 
and know that simultaneously food is , being deliberately 
destroyed. The second situation adds a sense of exasperation 
quite lacking in the first. Thus, even in a society in which the 
level of happiness is being raised, there will be frustration if 


Functioning Society 

people think that the advance could be more rapid than is the 
case, or if they fail to recognise that any advance is being made. 

In short, it is a condition of happiness that people shall feel 
that the purposes of society coincide with their own individual 
purposes. 1 

I would like it to be quite clear what this means. It does not 
mean that society must be perfectly organised so as to meet 
man's needs: people recognise that organisation is imperfect and 
that circumstances are frustrating. It does mean that people 
need to feel that society is getting somewhere, that it is making 
progress towards improving its organisation and conquering 
circumstances, with the object of raising their happiness. Thus, 
this condition of happiness does not raise the issue of what is 
the ideal economic and political organisation, but merely the 
issue of whether the government has got a proper grip of the 

It is, nevertheless, a condition of the utmost importance, 
because on it the whole cohesion of society depends. People will 
not desert their society merely because conditions are bad, but 
they will desert it, or make violent attempts to reconstruct it, 
if they think it is not coping effectively with these circumstances. 
That society should be stable and cohesive is, of course, 
a fundamental condition of happiness. Our own society is 
so marked by this sort of frustration and its cohesion is so 
seriously threatened in consequence, both on the national and 
the international scale, that the subject demands discussion in 
much more detail than is possible here. I propose, therefore, 
to defer the whole matter to another book, under the title 
Theory of Social Collapse. 

One thing, however, may be said. Maladministration of society 
is not due simply to defective techniques. It is also due to ill- 
will, to selfish and unco-operative behaviour on the part of 
individuals. Societies develop various devices for restraining this 
kind of selfishness-r-such as the withdrawal of public approval 
or ostracism, as already mentioned, and others of a more 

1 The significance of function, status and purpose is brilliantly 
analysed by Peter Drucker in The End of Economic Man, 1939. 


Conditions of Ha&biness 

obscure nature but these devices canAot cope with more than 
a small amount of unco-operativeness. The final basis of social 
cohesion is co-operativeness, in other Kvords, the ability to feel 
affectionately and generously towards other people. 

vi Conditions of Happiness 

Let us now try and sum up all the considerations we have 
discussed so far: let us try and tabulate the conditions of 
happiness in order that we can test various societies against 
this standard in the chapters which follow. 

Since affection is the mainspring equally of social cohesion 
and of the individual's psychic life, the cardinal condition which 
a culture must satisfy is that it should foster the production of 
responsive personalities and provide suitable opportunities for 
the expression of their affective impulses. It must thwart their 
legitimate aspirations as little as possible while restraining them 
from developing illegitimate aspirations. 

In short, the first tests we must apply to any culture are : does 
it provide outlets for affection and for mastery ? Does it foster 
the creation of sound basic personalities? Secondly, we can 
ask: does it assist the individual to meet his physical needs? 
Thirdly, does it assist him to obtain security without sacrifice of 
variety ? 

But from these tests, which measure the society in terms of a 
single individual, we must turn to tests in terms of its own 
structure. We^must ask: is the culture functional? Is it inte- 
grated or internally cohesive and consistent? Does it provide 
its members with function and status? Does it meet their 
purposes? Finally, we must measure it with especial care 
against an absolute scale of values: its values must be wise, 
consistent and durable. Since values reflect the basic personality, 
this brings us back to our starting point, the customs which 
condition personality. 

In applying these standards we must never forget that they 
are abstractions from real-life situations. Each practical issue 
must be measured separately against all the conditions. Work, 


Functioning Society 

for instance, provides inan with far more than the means of 
satisfying his material nfeds. It gives him function and status; 
security and purpose; opportunities for mastery and the 
exchange of affection. It is conditioned by customs and institu- 
tions and dominated by certain values. When we say in ordinary 
life, analysing the situation in familiar terms, that full employ- 
ment is a condition of happiness, we imply all this. And until 
we understand the full complexity of the numerous conditions 
of happiness implied in any such practical issue, we cannot 
even begin to devise suitable organisations in the political and 
economic fields. 

The method of analysis used here is thus one which takes 
place in a different dimension from the more familiar analysis 
in terms of institutions. In applying our conditions we must 
apply them to every kind of institution and activity throughout 
the societies we examine. 


Part Two 



I Characteristics of Industrial Society n Mastery in the Modern 
World in Physical Needs in the Modern World iv Emotional Needs 
in the Modern World v Modern Life and the Oceanic Feeling 
vi Consistency and Variety in the Modern World vn Self-Deter- 
mination in the Modern World vm Social Cohesion ix Our 
Defective Institutions 

I Characteristics of Industrial Society 

WE are now in a position to assess contemporary industrial 
society against the standards we have evolved and thus to find 
out not, indeed, whether it is happy, for we know it is not 
but where the roots of its unhappiness lie. 

It will help us to trace the sources of modern unhappiness if 
we first consider very briefly what are the most characteristic 
features of industrial civilisation. 

Probably the first thing which would strike a visitor from the 
eighteenth century would be the enormous increase in the 
density of population and, in particular, the concentration of 
millions of people into huge cities and 'conurbations/ At the 
same time great tracts of countryside, formerly common land, 
have been enclosed and converted into private property. The 
result is that it is now very difficult or even impossible for men 
to engage in the sort of out-of-door activities which have been 
customary for thousands of years. Except for a few wealthy 
men, and for such limited outlets as walking and fishing, 
physical activity must take the form of organised sport in which 
a comparatively large number of men obtain exercise in a 
comparatively small area of land. A second result is that people 
are brought into much closer contact, and so their power of 
injuring one another is increased. Consequently, there has been 
a great growth of regulations designed to reduce such interference. 


Contemporary Unhappiness 

A man who lets his hoilse catch on fire in the country injures 
only himself; in the to\^i he endangers others. 

This unparalleled crowding together of humanity has many 
other consequences, but these are the two which matter most 
in the present context : first, the cutting off of habitual physical 
activities and, second, the vastly increased power of people 
inadvertently to annoy, injure and obstruct their fellows. 

The second highly characteristic feature of modern society 
is a dual one : the ever-increasing specialisation and mechanisa- 
tion of work, including both the constructive and the adminis- 
trative aspects. It must be stressed that specialisation and 
mechanisation are distinct processes: it is possible to have 
specialisation without mechanisation and vice versa. Special- 
isation is the consequence of the growing complexity and scale 
of industrial and administrative operations which have become 
too large for a single man to handle. Mechanisation is the result 
of having cheap power available. 

Because of specialisation the modern worker does not, as did 
his forebears, carry through an undertaking from start to finish, 
whether alone or co-operatively : such an undertaking as making 
a chair or gathering in a harvest. Instead he handles only some 
tiny fragment of the process. And because of mechanisation 
he may use no more effort than is needed to pull a lever or 
depress a key although many strenuous tasks still remain. 

The third thing on which our imaginary visitor would certainly 
comment should perhaps be listed as a derivative of mechanisa- 
tion: I mean the great development of communications. This has 
had the effect of bringing people into closer contact and so 
reinforces the effects of the increase in population density. The 
economic and political significance of modern communications 
has been copiously commented on, but much less has been said 
about their effect in mixing and modifying cultural patterns. 1 

Fourthly, he would certainly notice a huge disparity in 
wealth. Today we are impressed with the rise in the income 
of the poorer classes, but we must remember that in the 

1 See, e.g. E. Staley, World Economy in Transition, and H. G. Wells, 

Conditions of Happiness 

nineteenth century the living standard? of the poor were forced 
down far below those of the previous Century: especially is this 
true if we take into consideration the toll of long hours and 
degraded surroundings, the disruption of family life and the 
growth of disease. Today the poorest classes have barely 
recovered the ground lost, 1 while the richer members of the 
population are able to command luxuries inconceivably more 
elaborate than any available even to kings in the past. By this 
I do not mean merely that the millionaire commands novel 
products television sets and motor cars which were not 
available to mediaeval kings, but that they command the product 
of a greater number of hours of skilled labour, however 

Another thing he would notice would be the emergence of a 
clear-cut distinction between work and leisure and the employ- 
ment of part of this leisure for self-education in the widest sense 
of the term, i.e. for reading, travel, etc. 

The list might be extended very easily, but these few main 
trends will give us the background we need. 

II Mastery in the Modern World 

Let us start our diagnosis by considering the effect of these 
changes on the satisfaction of mastery drives. Mastery, it may 
be pointed out, occupies a position of particular importance in 
our culture in consequence of the relatively strict sexual morality 
which still persists. For, as Unwin's monumental study showed, 
sexual energy is converted into constructive social energy when 
its normal outlet is restricted. 2 

It can hardly be denied that the general effect of industrial- 
isation has been to decrease opportunities for mastery. The 
reader will recall that we drew a distinction between crude 
mastery involving the moulding of physical material; personal 
mastery dominance over people ; and mastery of problems and 
ideas. Obviously, mechanisation has displaced many processes 

1 C. Clark, National Income and Outlay t 1938. 

2 J. D. Unwin, Sex and Culture, 1934. 


Contemporary Unhappiness 

involving crude mastery. The old-time baker mixed and moulded 
the flour with his hands; \he modern loaf is made by machinery. 
The horse set the rider a bigger problem of control than does a 
car. Moreover, the overall effect of mechanisation is to reduce 
the number of people handling materials while increasing the 
number in clerical, administrative, distributive and other 
ancillary occupations, in which crude mastery is generally quite 

Specialisation has also been responsible for reducing mastery, 
since people now purchase many services they formerly per- 
formed for themselves. The cook buys tinned foods; the traveller 
goes by train instead of riding; the housewife buys ready-made 
clothes instead of making her own. 

Carpentry affords a convenient instance of a rather more 
elaborate form of mastery in which several processes of crude 
mastery are combined in a creative task, the latter coming under 
the heading of constructive mastery. By buying his wood cut 
and planed the modern jobbing carpenter sacrifices much of 
the crude mastery while still retaining the creative element. If, 
however, he enters the employ of a large cabinet-maker, where 
he is required to turn out chairs of a standard pattern, the 
element of idea-mastery vanishes; while if he is reduced to 
specialising in a single process the creative element vanishes 

It is true that modern industrialism has given as well as taken 
away in the sphere of idea-mastery: the wide range of technical 
problems and new devices has created a flood of new creative 
and constructive problems. This, however, is in the nature of a 
short-term effect. The long-term trend is to standardise the 
design of these devices and submit them to the division of labour 
method until they, too, have become lifeless. Even such an 
operation as tracing a fault in a radio-set, which might be 
thought to offer an interesting challenge to ingenuity, has already 
been reduced to a routine. 

Closely allied with the concept of mastery is that of creativity. 
While industrialism destroys the creative element in productive 
work, potentially it makes possible a vast increase in creative 


Conditions of Happiness 

activity during the rest of the day. Millions of people who, in 
primitive times, would have been obliged to labour long hours 
for a pittance can now afford the time and energy to follow some 
creative activity in their leisure. The ease with which knowledge 
can be spread today is also a favourable factor. Yet in point of 
fact we notice that the mass of people today spend their leisure 
being distracted by sport, gambling, the cinema and other 
entertainments which call for no personal participation being 
urged to such behaviour by all the arts of advertising. In 
addition, a host of small household jobs of a mildly creative 
character has been handed over to paid employees or specialists. 
Few people still design their own clothes, and it has even 
become customary, among those who can afford it, to leave so 
personal a matter as the decorative scheme of their house 
to professionals. 

The subject of creativity leads to that of beauty, or, more 
generally, harmony. No one, I suppose, would dare to claim 
that the modern urban environment is particularly beautiful, 
while it is also generally admitted that industrialism has ravaged 
great areas of the countryside with suburban development, to 
say nothing of defiling beauty spots with mines, quarries, 
power-stations and other undertakings. 1 In addition, extensive 
farming methods (as practised in the U.S. and the dominions) 
do not contribute to the beauty of the countryside. The 
mechanised society has, certainly, produced some novel forms 
of beauty (even if by accident, as in the much-quoted case of 
the high-sp"feed monoplane), but these are not sufficiently 
numerous to transform the environment. Perhaps it comes 
nearest to a praiseworthy achievement in the interior of the 
home, where new standards of design have been applied to old 
problems and where so many new materials are now available 
for decorative purposes; but uncultured taste has generally 
succeeded in carrying the result at some expense to a lower 
artistic level than the inexpensive interior of mill or farmhouse. 
Clearly, industrial society fails to meet man's needs for mastery 
and creative activity. 

1 C. Williams-Ellis, Beauty and the Beast, 1937, 

Contemporary Unhappiness 
in Physical Needs in the Modern World 

So far modern society pas scored low marks but if there is 
one sphere in which it might reasonably hope to claim a success, 
presumably it is in the matter of meeting man's physical needs. 

As we all know, science has practically vanquished the forces 
which endangered man's food supply and has gone far to weaken 
those which threatened his health, while industrialism has iced 
the cake by placing at the disposal of the ordinary citizen a far 
wider range of material goods than ever before. But starvation 
and disease, driven out by one door, have crept back by another. 

Though average crop yields per acre were higher than ever 
in history, more than half the pre-war population of Britain 
was suffering from some degree of under-nutrition. 1 Mysterious 
economic and social forces had nullified the agrobiologists' and 
geneticists' gifts. The ignorant savage starves when harvests are 
bad. It has taken western ingenuity to discover how to starve 
when they are good. 

Similarly, while medical science and sanitation were busy 
vanquishing major diseases, crowded urban living conditions 
were increasing the toll of ill-health by imposing new strains 
on the town dweller continuous noise, insufficient sunlight, 
impure air. 

The effect of such factors is largely concealed by our habit 
of treating as healthy anyone who is not incapable or suffering 
from a diagnosable disease. If we turned our attention to the 
general low physical tone which marks most members of an 
urban population the picture would look very different. The 
Peckham Health Centre has found that fewer than 10 per cent, 
of its members are in perfect health. 2 Experimental work on 
these sub-critical factors is fragmentary, but we are beginning 
to know something about the serious effects of deprivation of 
ultra-violet light, such as is effected by the foggy atmosphere 

1 Sir J. B. Orr, Food, Health and Income, 1937. 

8 Pearse and Crocker, The Peckham Experiment, 1939. See also 
Scott-Williamson and Pearse, Biologists in Search of Material, 1947, 
especially the section on devitalisation in which two forms, hypotonia 
and dystrophy, are identified. 


Conditions of Happiness 

of cities and by an indoor habit. The very real effect that light 
can have on health is suggested by experiments with the soya- 
bean which becomes a sturdy herb, when grown in a blue-violet 
light, but a delicate twining vine when grown in a red-yellow 
one. 1 

Attention is also being turned to noise. Measurement of noise 
in city streets has shown it to attain the appalling level of 90 
decibels, about as loud as the roaring of a lion at a distance of 
25 feet. Before industrialism, few people heard a noise of such 
volume in the whole course of their lives. 

As Simmel observed half a century ago: 'With every crossing 
of the street, with every fluctuation in the tempo and variety of 
domestic, professional and commercial life, there arises in the 
perceptual foundations of the personality a deep cleavage with 
the slow, habitual, smooth-flowing rhythm of the psycho- 
physical structure of life in the small town or countryside.' 2 

Modern technology has also introduced new industrial 
diseases, and, together with modern transport, has enormously 
added to the dangers of death or mutilitation. In addition to 
new diseases, it has vastly increased the death rates from familiar 
ones. Thus the death rate from chronic interstitial pneumonia 
among Welsh anthracite miners and among sandstone quarry- 
men at the last census was about 150 times that among agri- 
cultural labourers. 3 And as is well known, industrial conditions 
evoke a rapid rise in the incidence of cancer. 

Specialisation also contributes to poor health since it compels 
people to use a single set of muscles continuously, and perhaps 
to sit in a cramped position. This is almost certainly a causative 
factor in rheumatism. 4 Furthermore, the skeleton may become 
warped in an effort to meet the demands thrown on it. JLane 

1 H. W. Popp, Contribs. from Boyce-Thompson Institute for Plant 
Research. I, 1929, 241. 

* Quoted by N. Carpenter, The Sociology of City Life, 1931, from 
Simmel, 'Die Groszstaedte and das Geistesleben' in K. Bucher, et al.: 
Die Groszstadt, Dresden, 1903. (Translation abridged and freely 

1 Registrar-General's Report on Occupational Mortality, 1938. 

4 Report of British Rheumatism Council, 1939. 

Contemporary Unhappiness 

reports such permanent changes as fusion of the intervertebral 
discs among those carrying heavy weights. 1 Such changes 
always shorten life. 

Pre-industrial man, compelled to take frequent and violent 
physical exercise, sweated freely and compensated with a large 
intake of fluid so that there was a steady 'turnover' in his body's 
water content. Similarly, spells of effort on short commons 
periodically forced him to mobilise his reserves of body fat. 
In eliminating such emergencies, civilised life has modified 
fundamental processes of bodily metabolism. This is quite 
probably a factor contributory to the city-dweller's indifferent 

An aspect of the health situation which might equally be dealt 
with under the rubric of emotional life, is that of sexual potency. 
The matter is still imperfectly investigated, but it has been 
claimed that impotence and frigidity are on the increase in the 
civilised world. Where the causation is psychological, it can 
often be traced to the effect of our unnatural sexual ethic on the 
upbringing of children, but physical causes are also suspected. 
There is also some evidence that urban life increases the 
difficulty of childbirth. 

iv Emotional Needs in The Modern World 

That modern society does not meet our emotional needs is 
obvious enough from the frequency of neurosis and psychosis, 
from the high proportion of unsuccessful marriages, and from 
the many bigoted and ruthless individuals we see around us. 
But it would be an exaggeration to suggest that incjustrial 
civilisation is unique in this respect. Many other contemporary 
cultures and many periods in the past of our own culture 
hav been unsatisfactory from the emotional point of view. 
Besides, there is a marked difference between the emotional 
life of today and that of the last century. In some respects it has 
improved, in others grown worse. 

To analyse the emotional life of our time in detail would 
1 Sir W. A. Lane, Acquired Deformities, 1900. 

Conditions of Happiness 

require, at the least, a whole book. Here the most we can do is to 
indicate the main factors and see how far modern conditions 
are favourable to them. 

Any such analysis must approach the subject from two angles. 
First, it must seek to show how far society tends to produce a 
personality capable of affection; secondly, how far social 
institutions favour the establishment of enduring emotional 
relations. Personalities which are practically incapable of any 
emotional response are rather common in our society and some 
degree of emotional anaesthesia affects the majority of us. As this 
fact is at the bottom of nearly all our troubles, I propose to 
discuss it at some length in Chapter X, under the heading of the 
Industrial Personality. At this point I shall deal only with the 
barriers which modern society places in the way of those who 
are reasonably capable of forming emotional relationships. 

I will deal, first of all, with the affection and respect which 
normally develop between individuals of either sex who come 
into close association and not of such specialised relationships 
as marriage. 

The conditions for the development of such feeling are that 
we should meet other people and that we should meet them 
sufficiently often to form some conception of them as individ- 
uals. Various institutions have been devised for the purpose but 
none is so effective as co-operation in a common project. It is 
there that we learn to know the true value of people and to 
discount the oddities of character which flaw the surface of their 

The primitive in-group provided an unsurpassed example of 
this type of association. Not only did it engage in common tasks, 
such as harvesting, but it spent many of its leisure hours 
together, meeting for marriages, funerals and festive occasions. 
Such groups develop strong internal cohesion. We may find a 
modern instance in the ship's crew, or the members of a regi- 
ment or school who continue to meet long after the functional 
purpose for which they were gathered together has vanished. 
Hardly less effective, is the small, unmechanised undertaking 
in which people work together in conditions which favour a 


Contemporary Unhappiness 

certain amount of co-operation and social intercourse. Some 
semi-intellectual activities fall into this category: thus, the 
members of a research laboratory often develop a corporate 
feeling due to mutual knowledge and understanding. 

In sharp contrast stands the modern factory, in which extreme 
specialisation has reduced co-operation to zero and where noise 
and separation of workers generally preclude social exchanges. 
A recent refinement of ingenuity applicable where there is no 
mechanical noise, is to flood the workroom with dance music, 
which virtually prevents conversation and induces a mildly 
hypnotic state in which the rhythmic movements of modern 
industry can be performed more smoothly and untiringly, with 
suitable effects on output; the effects on the personality are 
disregarded. The object is achieved by suspending the worker's 
attention to the external world and almost certainly contributes 
to his dependence on fantasy and his need for distraction in his 
(or her) leisure. 

The factory, however, is not the only sphere in which social 
contacts have been minimised. The bus-driver, the airplane 
pilot, the linotype operator, the lift attendant, the man on the 
pneumatic drill is temporarily as isolated from his fellow men 
as if he were a Trappist monk. 

In the primitive community, in contrast, the worker was not 
often separated from associates for any considerable period. 
Even in the fields, in the pre-mechanical era, people went 
sowing and reaping in considerable groups. Today, a single 
man on a tractor can handle an entire field, alone. In primitive 
society, too, the worker was not necessarily separated from his 
family and friends while at work. The modern worker travels 
to a factory where he spends the day away from home. Again, 
the big city affords a strange isolation in which it is possible 
for a person to spend months without forming a friend a 
fact which is a commonplace of experience. The village or small 
town is potentially more friendly, even though hard material 
conditions sometimes create an embittered type of individual, 
who nullifies, by his personal animosity, the benefits of the 
village's lack of social separation. 

C.H. ii 153 

Conditions of Happiness 

Certainly, the improvement of communications does not 
favour the establishment and growth pf enduring relationships. 
Relationships grow during prolonged association, but, as 
Chapman has stressed, 1 the needs of modern industry have 
forced on people a greater mobility than is natural to them 
and war, of course, does still more to disrupt relationships. 
Today we tend to form more numerous but much shallower 
friendships. Human relationships are cemented by shared 
experience, but the atomistic character of modern life forces us 
to undergo some of our most pregnant experiences in emotional 

Nor does our civilisation provide wholly adequate outlets for 
the need to serve others. The craftsman making an essential 
piece of domestic or agricultural equipment can feel that he is 
serving the community, as can the workers in certain basic 
industries, but nowadays a great proportion of the population 
is engaged in activities of dubious social value, some of which 
are actually anti-social in their effects. This not only thwarts 
the need to serve but undermines a man's self-respect. 

This brings us to the subject of status, since functional status 
depends on the social value of the individual's function. But 
the status system of European countries is largely hereditary, 
modified by the fact that status is associated with wealth. In 
America it is almost entirely based on wealth. As long as it is 
possible for any penniless individual to reach the top of the tree 
within his lifetime, a system of status based on wealth gives an 
illusion of being a functional system, but in advanced stages 
of industrialism the need for capital excludes all but a few 
newcomers, and the status system merges into the hereditary. 
Hence we may say that no industrial country satisfies the require- 
ments in this respect. 

From these general considerations I turn briefly to intensive 
relationships between two individuals. The first thing which 
strikes the anthropologist is that, in western society, such 
relationships are almost entirely confined to people of opposite 
sex. Unlike the Arabs, for instance, who regard friendship 
1 G. Chapman, Culture and Survival, 1940. 


Contemporary Unhappiness 

between two men as an experience of far greater depth and value 
than any which is possinle between a man and a woman, we 
regard relationships between persons of the same sex with some 
suspicion and only approve them if they are extremely undemon- 
strative. We stress the element of respect and co-operation and 
minimise the element of love. The psychologist will hardly 
hesitate to explain this by reference to our fear of homo- 
sexuality. It is extremely hard to induce any member of a 
western society to recognise that the western attitude to relations 
between members of the same sex is quite irrational, even though 
it carries all the earmarks of a neurotic attitude such as the 
immediate provoking of disproportionate anger, disgust and 

Turning, next, to marriage and noting the number of 
marriages which are ridden with spite and aggression, we are 
justified in asking whether the marriage institution as it exists 
in the west is adequately designed. Modern western marriage 
(which we too often suppose to be the only possible form of 
marriage) is marked by three highly arbitrary beliefs. We think 
it should be based on romantic love, that it should be mono- 
gamous and that it should be lifelong. There are very obvious 
arguments for polygamy in any society in which the numbers 
of the two sexes are not equal. The length of time it endures 
should be a function of its effectiveness, provided the interests 
of any offspring are protected. 

It is, however, the belief in the validity of romantic love 
a belief which has only grown up in the last two centuries, 
and which still does not hold in many parts of Europe which 
is the strangest feature of our emotional environment. Dispas- 
sionate examination shows that the violent infatuations which 
we call being 'in love,' rarely, if ever, endure unless they are 
thwarted. To marry on the strength of them means that when 
the passion burns out, two individuals often little suited to one 
another are left to start from scratch the erection of a more 
enduring relationship. 

Just as in the case of ordinary friendship, perhaps more so, 
enduring affection is slowly built up out of shared experience, 

Conditions of Happiness 

co-operation in a common purpose and reciprocal help. We 
can blame the culture of western society for its failure to instruct 
adolescents in the nature of emotional relationships, and I think 
it is true to say that it is worse in this respect than most primitive 
cultures, and than most stages in its own previous history. 

Nor is it rational to let people undertake the building of a 
complex structure without first trying their hands at more 
elementary ones. A period of experiment, such as many 
primitive societies allow to adolescents, is essential. 

I suppose I need hardly say that this is not a plea for complete 
promiscuity before marriage. To say one objects to one extreme 
does not mean one should fly to the other. If experimental 
relationships are permitted as they are in fact permitted 
they should be governed by values, customs and even laws, 
designed to prevent abuses and maximise the good. To permit 
them a hole-and-corner existence without benefit of social 
sanctions or approved modes of conduct, is to get the worst of 
both worlds. 

However, it is not the purpose of this chapter to say what we 
should do, but to point out the defects of what we do do. It can 
safely be said that our rigid and limited marriage institution 
looks singularly impoverished when seen against a background 
of the many and complex institutions which various societies 
have worked out at different times, and it is an intolerable 
conceit to suppose that we, of all people, should have found the 
only satisfactory solution, or even that the best solution for 
one set of conditions is necessarily the best for another. It can 
also safely be said that our high valuation of infatuation, our 
absence of training for marriage and our ignorance of the way 
in which sentiments are formed, are serious defects. 

Finally, it might be said that it is a mistake to make marriage 
an absolute condition of sexual satisfaction. Not only does this 
thwart those who cannot find suitable mates, not only does it 
drive many into unsuitable marriages, but it gives to marriage 
itself the character of a primarily sexual relation, instead of 
making it a primarily emotional one. 

This being so, it is not surprising that investigation of reasons 


Contemporary Unhappiness 

for the break-up of marriage relationships give a high place to 
failures of the sexual relationship, 1 whether this be due to 
ignorance (and thus to our rigid sexual taboos) or whether to 
frigidity or failure of potency. 

v Modern Life and the Oceanic Feeling 

It is hard to say whether or not ipodern life is badly adapted 
to producing that supreme emotional experience we have called 
the oceanic feeling, since we do not know with what frequency 
it occurred in the past or occurs in other cultures. Still, it seems 
that it comes most easily in vast lonely places and when the mind 
is empty of thought and free from the claims of immediate 
sensation. These conditions are not readily realised in modern 
society. One is perpetually surrounded by others, perpetually 
subject to trivial stimuli of noise and movement. 2 Moreover, 
a mechanised society demands a much more sustained attention 
to material things. 

vi Consistency and Variety in the Modern World 

Modern civilisation wears an ambiguous air when assessed 
from the standpoint of variety. By making possible the impor- 
tation of distinctive products from all parts of the world, it has 
certainly greatly widened the range of goods available to the 
ordinary man. Also, by bringing many products, formerly 
luxuries, within the range of a modest purse, it has achieved 
a similar effect. Yet there is certainly a contrary trend at work. 
Mass-production methods tend towards similarity of product. 
We can get into a friend's car and find that in everything 
(except perhaps the colour) it is the replica of our own. Such an 

1 K. B. Davis, Factors in the Sex Life of 2,200 Women, 1930. 

2 There is, perhaps, one case when this experience does not demand 
isolation and that is when a group of people are all simultaneously in 
a mood of empty attention, such as happens at a musical performance, 
at a religious service, or possibly at a public meeting at which great 
abstractions are propounded. In the latter case there is a serious danger 
that the mood may be misused by the orator, as in the case of many of 
Hitler's meetings. 

Conditions of Happiness 

experience would be exceptional if it were a sailing boat. On 
a more subtle level, there is the standardisation of taste implied 
in such words as fashion. The rapid dissemination of ideas and 
habits reduces the need for evolving one's own. Not, of course, 
that fashion is a modern invention, but today fashions are wider 
in range of influence. Media such as printing and the cinema 
impose fashions on an enormous area. Typical of the ugly 
monotony produced by modern industrialism is the monotonous 
regularity of nineteenth-century slums a poor exchange for 
the variety and balance of an Elizabethan village or the dignity 
of a Georgian crescent. 

Again, modern civilisation has made striking advances in the 
direction of freeing people from the vagaries of the environment. 
It has largely conquered the physical dangers of fire and flood, 
tempest and wild beast, which beset our ancestors. It has 
eliminated the famines which ate up their food supply. But 
simultaneously, it has introduced vastly more costly sources 
of insecurity. Economic conditions reintroduce the element of 
insecurity on a larger scale for if one is out of work not only 
one's food, but one's clothes, one's home, one's self-respect, 
one's status and all else are in jeopardy. 

Then again, as already mentioned, modern industrial 
machinery and transport has greatly increased the risk of 
physical harm both to oneself and those one loves. The suburban 
mother, quite reasonably, is anxious whenever her children go 
out alone, just as the miner's wife is never quite free from 
anxiety when her husband is down the pit. Such anxieties go 
far to undo the advances which have been made in conquering 
disease and the precarious limitations we have placed on the 
power of oppression. Finally, it need hardly be said that modern 
total war represents a far more serious and widespread actual 
or potential threat to life and property than even the most 
destructive wars of the past. 

No, we cannot say that the modern world offers a satisfactory 
degree of personal security. Underlying all these fears for 
personal security is the lack of emotional security, to which we 
have already referred. 

Contemporary Unhappiness 

To close this section I will mention one more form of 
emotional security whose origins are social rather than psychol- 
ogical : insecurity of status. As I argued in the preceding chapter, 
only functional status offers security combined with justice. 
Hereditary status at least had the advantage of offering security: 
though it was hard to move up it was equally hard to move down. 
Today, in western Europe, we have practically abandoned 
hereditary status in favour of the highly insecure form of 
status which is based on the accumulation of wealth. 

vil Self-Determination in the Modern World 

Finally, it must be noted that the mass society of today has 
greatly undermined man's power of self-determination. The 
era of 'free enterprise* seemed at one stage to be increasing the 
power of each individual man to determine his own life, but 
this was an illusion due to the fact that we thought exclusively 
in economic terms. In the event, each man has greatly reduced 
choice. He may choose which industry he will work in but in 
every one he is held to an eight (or nine, or ten) hour day, he is 
obliged to live in a vast city and spend a great part of his day 
in travel . . . and so on. He can do nothing about the vagaries 
of the trade cycle, he can do nothing about the spread of urban 
development, he can do nothing about the wars which are 
precipitated by the negotiations of remote officials. He sees a 
state department or a large business concern appropriate a tract 
of land and flood with water the village where he has been wont 
to live . . . The charge has been made so often by the opponents 
of socialism that its terms are tediously familiar. But the fact is 
that this charge can be levelled with equal or greater force at 
finance capitalism. 

So-called private enterprise, actually the enterprise of vast 
public corporations, imposes its decisions on the private 
individual just as arbitrarily. It is realisation of this which has 
produced the so-called 'we-they' attitude in which a mysterious 
'they* is saddled with the responsibility for all social decisions. 
And the attitude is wholly justifiable. It reflects the undoubted 

Conditions of Happiness 

fact that the ordinary man does not have any part in the decisions 
which determine the patterns of hum^n life. The existence of 
the popular phrase 'just a cog in the machine* is good evidence 
of the general feeling of inability to control one's own life and 
the dismay this has caused. 

vni Social Cohesion 

There is yet one more standard by which we may assess 
modern society, a standard which to some extent affects all those 
considered up to now, that of social cohesion. If society does 
not hold together, it inevitably fails in its task of enabling the 
individual member to satisfy his needs. 

A glance at the world today shows that society has failed to 
achieve cohesion between nations and no arguments need be 
adduced to prove the point. Within each national society the 
picture is less clear, but it is nowhere very encouraging. The 
most evident split is between capital and labour. Each has been 
organised into a coherent body and the better the organisation 
of each group, the poorer the unity of society as a whole. From 
the viewpoint of society, the Federation of British Industries 
and the Trades Union Council are equally undesirable. In both 
Britain and America the two chief parties are able between them 
to command the confidence of the bulk of the nation, but in 
France, as in Germany after the first World War, it is practically 
impossible for any party to inspire sufficient confidence to 
enable it to carry on the task of administration, and disintegra- 
tion becomes so marked that people look for a strong man to 
restore cohesion by dictatorial methods. 

However, it is not only these organised and warring groups 
which threaten the cohesion of society, much more is it the 
element of the population which endeavours to get from society 
more than it contributes. This parasitism is not confined to the 
deserter, the spiv and the black-marketeer; all those who receive 
incommensurate rewards, those who buy cheap and sell dear, 
those who make an income without contributing to the welfare 
of society, the makers of worthless medicines and useless 


Contemporary Unhappiness 

gadgets, the sellers of food without nutritive value, literature 
without literary value, and publicity without public value, the 
speculators in stocks and shares, in goods and in land, the legis- 
lators who do not legislate and the councillors who do not 
counsel, the purveyors of hopeless hope and loveless love, all 
these bear witness to the failure of society to integrate many of 
those who live within its formal influence into its essential 
emotional structure. 

As I have said, the anonymity of modern life has rendered 
the old social sanctions largely futile. And while on the one hand 
the anti-social individual is not known to those he victimises, 
and cannot (if he keeps the law) be ejected from the group, on 
the other many innocent people felt themselves unwanted by 
the group and so take to anti-social behaviour. Cohesion is 
further undermined when the individual sees rewards being 
distributed in a manner which is both unequal and unrelated 
to merit, and while this is by no means a new phenomenon, in 
a mechanised society it becomes more acute, since the much- 
enhanced total output of goods exaggerates the discrepancy, 
while improved communications and more general education 
make people more widely aware of the state of affairs. 

ix Our Defective Institutions 

To say that modern society does not provide outlets for 
emotion and mastery, does not ensure security and variety, fails 
to bestow function and status, is to accuse our institutions of 
being defective. If unemployment threatens an individual's 
sjupply of food, and his right to function and status, it is the 
institutions through which we give employment that are at 
fault. If mass-production thwarts his need for mastery and 
creative activity and condemns him to monotonous isolation, 
then it is the productive institution which is wrongly designed. 

Why are the institutions of modern society so extraordinarily 
badly designed as to produce all the evils we have catalogued 
in the earlier part of this chapter? Why has this period, more 
than any other, achieved such a remarkable low? 


Conditions of Happiness 

Three reasons spring to mind, the first is the rapid obsoles- 
cence of traditional institutions owing to the mechanisation 
of production and communication. Hand in hand with this 
goes the short-sighted way in which we have designed new 
institutions to replace the old. 

Man, thanks to his power of appreciating the total configura- 
tion (gestalt) of any situation, when devising institutions to meet 
his needs, instinctively models them to meet all his needs, or 
at the least, to do violence to none. Thus marriage, though 
primarily connected with the task of reproduction, is so planned 
as to provide companionship, and emotional outlets. It is also 
an effective economic arrangement (division of labour and 
pooling of risk) increasing security and variety. It also plays 
its part in the integration of the community and so on. Similarly, 
the productive task, when planned by primitive man, though 
primarily designed to meet physical needs, also offered outlets 
for mastery, for physical exercise and for creativity. It yielded 
social contacts and introduced an element of variety and was 
often so organised as to increase security (e.g. it may be 
organised on a collective basis). 

Modern man, however, approaches the productive problem 
not instinctively, but consciously. He is aware of the primary 
purpose but not of the subsidiary functions. Accordingly he 
proceeds to reorganise the institution so as to serve the prime 
purpose better, unaware that he is destroying its secondary 
functions. This is particularly true of the productive process. 
The whole tr$nd of factory management, of what is called 
rationalisation, is to adopt any measure which will increase 
output, regardless of other consequences. Hence the employer 
does not hesitate to introduce mechanisation, being uninterested 
in the fact that it diminishes mastery, he does not hesitate to 
introduce standardisation, being uninterested in the fact that 
it reduces creativity and variety, he does not hesitate to intro- 
duce specialisation, being uninterested that it makes still 
further inroads on both. Furthermore, he tries to reduce the 
pauses which used to be filled with idle gossip and to fill them 
with work, not caring that contact with other workers is a 


Contemporary Unhappiness 

primary source of satisfaction for the human being, nor feeling 
that it is morally undesirable to ask anyone to spend eight hours 
without contact with his fellow creatures. With the same object 
he brings the task to the worker, rather than to let the worker 
seek the task, thus reducing both the worker's opportunities to 
relax his attention and his working muscles, his opportunity 
to take some general exercise, and his opportunity to exchange 
the time of day with other workers. 

All this occurs because men ceased to evolve methods of 
behaviour instinctively and approached them rationally. Unfor- 
tunately their knowledge of what they were doing was more 
fragmentary than they supposed. They little suspected the 
complexity of the life processes they were so confidently 
tampering with. 

Realisation of this fact enables us to begin to shape a dynamic 
theory of history. The moving force is man's attempt to deal 
with his problems rationally. In the primitive state society is 
regulated by powerful, unseen forces which, though they do 
not always ensure happiness, at least maintain cohesion and 
prevent total collapse. Primitive society resembles a tree. If it 
grows in an unfavourable position exposed to gales, parched by 
the sun, in sandy soil, it will become stunted and distorted in 
its attempts to keep alive, but in that one aim it will succeed as 
long as it is physically possible, for all other considerations are 
subordinated to it. Modern man, ignoring the unseen forces, 
attempts to deal with the situation rationally. It is as if he should 
attempt to force the tree to grow tall and straight. Comes the 
gale, and it is snapped and splintered. He does not know all 
the factors at work in the situation he dares to remodel. He is 
more ignorant than he believes. 

Modern history (and ancient history, too, I believe) is a story 
of man's wilful and ignorant interference with social and life 
processes in an attempt to gain some possibly quite desirable 
end, with the result that he brings about the death of the culture 
which he is trying to modify. 

The third reason is more fundamental. It is that our values 
are defective. The fact that when we design an institution for 


Conditions of Happiness 

productive work we suppress all its other functions in favour 
of its productive function argues that we regard this as the most 
important function. It is a materialistic valuation. The fact that 
men are prepared to sacrifice time which might have been spent 
in comparative freedom in some open-air activity to work in a 
factory for higher pay, shows that they value that pay, and the 
goods which they can buy, higher than the freedom. It may be 
true that, now the system is established, many of them have 
little choice. But once they did have the choice, and they took it, 
they left their farms and flocked to the factories. That it was 
possible at one stage to refuse is shown by the men of Harris 
and Lewis, who refused to work in Lord Leverhulme's factory 
at Stornoway and obstinately stayed on their crofts. 

The fundamental question therefore is what has happened to 
our personalities, that we have adopted material values ? What 
has happened to us ? To this question I shall recur in the next 
chapter but one, when I shall also consider the unconscious 
causes of unhappiness in modern society. But first I have some 
more to say about the overt aspects of the problem. 




Substitute Satisfactions n Demand for Distractions 

I Substitute Satisfactions 

HAT I now have to say seems to me so important that it 
merits the dignity of a chapter to itself, even though it can be 
said in a few words. 

As the urbanisation and mechanisation of life proceeds, the 
drives which are being thwarted find release, to an even greater 
extent, in substitute forms. For instance, whereas in the natural 
society the need for exercise is met in an incidental manner in 
the course of performing daily tasks, in the industrial society it 
is met chiefly by rather highly organised sports, or even in an 
absolutely direct form, such as Swedish drill, the use of rowing 
machines, dumbbells and other exercises, or still less function- 
ally by recourse to Turkish baths and massage. The distinction 
is not quite absolute of course: the non-industrial society has 
its sports, to be sure, but they are performed for pleasure, not 
as a duty. On the other hand, the modern citizen often plays 
squash, gardens, or walks primarily for the good of his health, 
and only secondarily for pleasure. 

The instance of sport is a very simple one, but much the same 
is true of more subtle needs. For instance, the primitive man 
exerts his mastery in activities of direct value to himself and 
the community his skill as a doctor or farmer and so forth. The 
industrial man, whose functional activities are largely auto- 
matised, must find substitute outlets for mastery in such 
activities as tennis or driving a high-powered car: or, if his need 
is for mastery at more subtle levels, by building himself a 
radio sit, playing cards, running a model railway or solving a 
crossword puzzle. 


Conditions of Happiness 

Such activities are at least first-hand : a lower level of substi- 
tution is reached when people try to fulfil their vital needs by 
proxy, as in watching football, cricket or boxing matches or 
other contests, or through books, radio and cinema. I do not 
suggest for a minute that there is anything wrong in these 
activities as such; just as with alcoholic drinks, it is wholly a 
question of how they are used. There is no harm, but much good 
in watching sporting contests as a supplement to engaging 
personally in them. The danger comes when vicarious sport is 
wholly substituted for personal participation. The difference 
between these two attitudes is quite clear. The man who 
himself performs, when he stops to watch others, is primarily 
concerned to study technical skill and perhaps to enjoy the 
beauty of the movements involved; he is rarely interested in the 
question of who wins. In contrast, the onlooker who is using 
the game as a substitute for the outlet of mastery impulses is 
first and foremost a partisan. He is much more concerned who 
wins than how. This attitude reaches its extreme in the bettor 
who does not even attend the contest and whose interest is 
solely in the outcome. 

Such contests may, of course, be used for the outlet of 
aggression, in which case the amount of violence inflicted 
becomes the primary consideration, rather than the outcome. 
This naturally applies chiefly to sports involving violence, such 
as boxing and all-in wrestling. 1 

The tremendous contemporary trend towards substitute 
experience is nowhere more obvious than in the case of the 
cinema, and here similar considerations apply. When the cinema 
is used as a clue towards the meaning of life or a means of 
assisting the assimilation of real experience (which is often too 
complex and too overwhelming to absorb at the time) that is, 
when it is used as an art it is of the utmost value. But that is 

1 Even the apparently innocuous sport of rowing can be utilised 
for such purposes. In a case known to the writer, it was used by a 
seriously-maladjusted woman as an outlet for death-wishes against 
the male sex. She would station herself opposite the winning post 
because, as she would gleefully say, she ' liked to see them flop.' 


Vicious Circle 

not how it is used by 99 per cent, of those who visit it today. 
It is used as a substitute for emotional experience, and for 
discovery about the world of personal relationships, more 
particularly sexual experience and sexual relationships. The 
parallel between the 'pin-up' photos which plaster the walls of 
the lonely, sex-starved soldier and the pictures of male film- 
stars which adorn the walls of the adolescent girl is too obvious 
to need stressing. Yet it would betray a lack of perception to 
interpret the impulse as wholly or even primarily sexual; it is 
the desire for companionship in its full sense which motivates 
these actions, not unmixed with a desire for the ideal. 

The flapper's bedroom also displays photos of the female 
stars, which betray that identification is taking place. Thus the 
cinema becomes a vicarious source of prestige and admiration. 
Correspondingly, the male cinema-addict, identifying himself 
with the cowboy or gangster hero, finds a substitute outlet for 
his mastery impulses and a vicarious access to status. The great 
importance of the cinema as a mastery outlet is betrayed, I think, 
by the acute comment of Seldes that the unique attraction of 
moving pictures is that they move : pure movement being per se 
exciting, irrespective of its purpose. 1 The explanation, no 
doubt, is that crude mastery impulses can only be expressed 
through movement. 

It has been suggested that another function of the cinema is 
to provide a spillway for aggression and this it does both by 
providing villains on to whom aggression can be displaced and 
by providing heroes with whom the onlooker can identify 
himself. But such substitute outlets are not to be placed in the 
same class as direct, overt action and leave behind much 
undischarged aggression which, in a simpler society, might have 
been usefully worked off in sport or constructive activity. 

Social workers have tended to see in the cinema little more 

than a means of escape from a too-crowded home or a sordid 

environment into warmth, comfort, spaciousness and relative 

privacy. While not denying the force of these motives, I am 

convinced that the insistent attraction of the cinema rests on 

1 G. Seldes, Movies for the Million, 1937. 


Conditions of Happiness 

something much more positive. It is not just to escape some- 
thing but to obtain something that the cinemagoer pays his 

These remarks apply in slightly lesser degree to the radio 
and to escapist literature. Not, as a matter of fact, that I would 
sweepingly condemn even escapism. In moderation it is harm- 
less, even therapeutic in its effects. But however delightful as 
an occasional indulgence, as a regular diet like caviare it 
becomes disgusting to any normally-constituted person. To 
demand it continuously betrays the existence of a perversion of 
normal personality. 

II Demand for Distractions 

The discussion has brought us to a point where we must 
consider a manifestation uniquely characteristic of urban indus- 
trialism, the need for distraction. The majority of modern spare- 
time activities are distinguished by the passivity of the person 
taking part. He sits in his chair and is distracted by the efforts 
of others, without contributing anything himself. In contrast, 
the amusements of a less sophisticated people generally demand 
a high degree of active participation. It is perfectly true that 
a certain proportion of spectatorship occurs even in primitive 
peoples; what we have to explain is the emergence of distrac- 
tions to a dominant position, and the fact that they have invaded 
a much larger proportion of the day even the working hours, 
in the case of "many factory workers, who are now regaled with 
dance music while they work. 

This is partly of necessity, since the city-dweller cannot 
easily find space for vigorous activities, but the principal reason 
is to be found, I suggest, in that word 'distract.' To distract 
signifies to divert the attention from something. From what? 
Doubtless from the gnawing dissatisfaction which springs (did 
people but know it) from the frustration of their deepest needs. 
The factory worker demands dance music because her work is 
so tedious, provides so little opportunity for initiative, mastery 
and skill, that her mind is empty and bored. Into the cinema go, 


Vicious Circle 

among others, those who can find 'nothing to do at home/ To 
point out that there are books to read and concerts on the radio 
is no answer, because it is emotional relationships that the 
individual needs. The blame lies with the social conditions and 
the psychological weaknesses which make it difficult for him to 
construct such relations in the real world. 

It would be easy to extend the catalogue of substitute satis- 
factions to much greater length. It is tempting to analyse the 
daily Press in terms of distractive emotional experience, or to 
demonstrate how such distractions represent an attempt to 
combat the deadly monotony of much of modern life. But the 
argument is already clear. So let us consider, instead, just what 
such substitutes mean in terms of happiness. 

The first point to stress is that these substitute satisfactions 
are never as fully satisfying as the originals. First-order substi- 
tutes, such as engaging in sports and pastimes, are devoid of the 
sense of purpose and the essential rewards of primary mastery 
activities. The man who builds himself a home in the back- 
woods has made a major step towards securing his own comfort 
and even continued existence, and that of his family. The man 
who builds a rabbit-hutch enjoys these gains in diminished 
form: he has the benefit of the physical exercise and skill and 
has something to show for his pains, even if it is of relatively 
minor value in his scheme of life. But the man who, without 
even a back garden, is reduced to building a model of the town 
hall from match sticks is wholly deprived of such basic satis- 
factions; his action hardly brings him any nearer in his life 

Similarly, the man who defeats a living enemy has won a 
more satisfying victory than the man who beats an opponent at 
tennis, and a still more satisfying victory than the man who 
beats an opponent at throwing dice, while the man who merely 
watches a boxer (a second-order substitute, i.e. watching a 
person engaged in first-order substitute combat), is even less 
satisfied. Nervous excitement may, indeed, rise to a higher 
pitch during the conflict, but the permanent achievement, the 
furthering of major life-objectives, is totally absent. Third- 

cvri. 12 i6g 

Conditions of Happiness 

order substitutes, watching an actor simulate a cowboy 
winning a combat, do more to arouse awareness of the need 
than to satisfy it. 

The second characteristic of the trend towards substitutes 
and this cannot be too strongly emphasised is that it is self- 
propagating. The more life becomes industrialised, the more 
difficult it is to enjoy primary satisfactions. The more we turn 
to manufactured substitutes the more we foster the growth of 
the industrial machine. In this way a vicious spiral of industrial- 
isation and substitution is established leading us further and 
further away from true happiness. 

The great bulk of the goods produced by the industrial 
machine today would never be needed if there were no indus- 
trial machine. 

If there were no industrial machine, there would be no 
urbanisation. If there were no urbanisation, there would be no 
need for the bulk of surburban transport and communications, 
and for the complex machinery of substitute satisfaction. With- 
out the bulk of the railways, buses, cinemas, radio factories, 
cars, telephones, printing presses, cameras, etc., capital industry 
would be greatly reduced in size. We could probably produce 
all the goods we really need for a satisfactory existence, includ- 
ing a sane proportion of the aforesaid mechanical devices with 
about four hours of labour a day, or alternatively three full days 
a week, which would enable us in the other hours not, indeed, 
to do nothing, but to produce many of such goods as are wanted 
by individual processes of craftmanship which contribute to 
personal happiness. Such processes would not scorn the use of 
machinery, but they would reject the second-order division of 
labour which deprives the workman of the satisfaction of being 
the unitary maker of the finished goods. 

The crazy use we make of our productive effort is well shown 

by the case of photographic cameras. American manufacturers 

estimate that, on the average, the buyer of a camera exposes 

six spools of film and then loses interest. 1 A study of prints 

made by any professional developing and printing service shows 

1 Privately communicated. 


Vicious Circle 

that an infinitesimal proportion are of any lasting interest. The 
majority are photographs of people, often casual acquaintances, 
and most of the rest are views of places visited, much inferior 
in quality to the postcards which could be bought by anyone 
interested in retaining a memento. 

It must be clearly understood that I am not asserting that to 
own a camera and take such photographs does not give any 
pleasure to the person concerned: obviously it does. I am not 
even suggesting that, in our society, any single individual would 
be well advised to refrain from pleasures of this type, because 
he cannot, merely by refraining gain access to the other sort of 
satisfactions which are sacrificed by an industrial society. What 
I am saying is that if everyone would agree to use a very much 
smaller number of such devices, it would be possible to remodel 
society in such a way as greatly to increase other forms of 
satisfaction, and there would be a mighty profit in happiness 
when the gains were balanced against the losses. Looked at 
solely from the viewpoint of the number of hours of labour 
involved, and ignoring the indirect costs of industrial civilisa- 
tion, it is questionable whether the average person gets a 
happiness-profit from the purchase of a camera. A good camera 
represents many hundreds of hours of labour: the buyer must 
have put in a comparable number of hours of work to obtaia 
the money to buy it (modified, naturally, by the relative size 
of his salary to that of the men making the camera). Given a 
straight choice between taking those hours as leisure or working 
and getting the camera, quite a few people would choose the 

But that is not the choice to which I am directing attention. 
I am saying that by giving up the general availability of all these 
costly mechanical toys, we could so enormously reduce the 
output of our industrial machine, effecting all sorts of incidental 
savings in reduced transport and other services, that it would 
be possible to remodel society so as to make life vastly more 
satisfying; and by so doing we should effect still further gains, 
because we should reduce crime, ill health and the need for 
distractions, enabling us to dispense with most of our police, 


Conditions of Happiness 

and legal experts, some of our doctors, nurses and psychiatrists, 
and all our mass-entertainment employees. 

All these mechanical toys are, to be sure, valuable when used 
aright. The telephone is a boon when it brings the doctor to 
a lonely bedside. But once we instal a telephone service people 
start to use it for gossiping over, and so the whole telephone 
system grows, demanding millions of man-hours and woman- 
hours of our precious time and labour. 

The industrial pattern therefore commits two errors. It 
teaches people to try and satisfy their needs by buying things. 
Thus, the assertion that the best people own such and such a 
make of car is, from the sociological viewpoint, an attempt to 
persuade people to base status on ownership of goods. And, let 
us not forget, it succeeds in its aim. Once a community begins 
to reckon status in this way then ownership of goods becomes 
the indubitable road to status, and the status-seeking individual 
is obliged to follow it. Similarly with fashion. Once it has been 
established that a girl who does not wear silk stockings or lipstick 
is a frump, then any girl who does not is at a very real social 
disadvantage. The truth of this was well illustrated during the war. 

But in a community totally without silk stockings, lack of 
them is no disadvantage. Thus the introduction of silk stockings 
to a stockingless community ultimately benefits no one, but 
saddles everyone with the task of producing the required 
number of silk stockings. In this way industrial civilisation has 
saddled itself with a farrago of 'needs' all of them real enough 
to the individual but collectively more or less futile. 1 

We are all busy producing goods, half of which we only need 
because we are so busy producing goods. 

1 This formulation throws a revealing shaft of light on the preten- 
sions of economic science. Economics is rooted in the supposition that 
every human need can be legitimately expressed as a * demand* and 
satisfied by a productive process. The possibility that the need would 
be better met by doing and not by buying is not considered. The fact 
that single institutions can satisfy several needs at once implies that 
an institution which satisfies only a single need may be undesirable, 
even though a 'demand* for it can be clearly demonstrated. The truth 
is, the science of economics, sensu stricto, has still to be formulated. 


Vicious Circle 

The second error of the industrial machine is to hold out to 
people the ultimate vision of an efficiency so great that all 
conceivable goods can be produced with the labour of a few 
hours a week, leaving the rest of the time free for 'leisure.' 
Such empty leisure would be intolerably vapid and boring. The 
object of life is not to do nothing but to do something and, 
what is more, to do something which matters. The only sane use 
for such leisure is to employ it in establishing human relation- 
ships, and after this in producing things (and providing 
services) which are really needed by the methods which are 
most satisfying. 1 

To achieve such an end machinery is, of course, essential. 
Only by using it to do the tedious and dangerous jobs can we 
free men to do the interesting and creative ones. The only way 
in which we can spend a large part of our life in such pleasant 
constructive activity, and still have a reasonable standard of 
living, is if we use machinery to make up the total to the 
required level. This is no reactionary plea for a return to a 
sentimentally-conceived past. The past, though often psycholo- 
gically satisfying, was also physically degrading for all but a 
favoured minority. 

The error we make is to believe that every new technical 
process must be adopted automatically. Happiness will only 
come when society learns to pick and choose, adopting only 
those processes which can be made to serve the scheme of 
happiness and rejecting the rest. 

1 This definition does not, as might be thought, exclude such 
innocent recreations as, e.g., going on a picnic. On the contrary, this 
is an excellent example of meeting a basic need in an agreeable fashion. 


i Culture and Personality n Formation of Personality in Western 

Values as Causes iv Basic Personality Structure v Western Values 

as Effects vi Western Culture 

I Culture and Personality 

3o far it is in overt terms only that I have tried to analyse 
industrial culture, seeking to show how it directly frustrates our 
fundamental needs. But, as everyone knows, people may be 
unhappy even when external circumstances seem most promis- 
ing. Sometimes such unhappiness is due to failure to make the 
best use of the available advantages, as when a rich woman 
spends her time in vapid activities because she cannot visualise 
the intensity of the satisfactions which are bought at the cost 
of discomfort and effort on the material level. But more often 
this mysterious unhappiness is irrational : it is due to 'psycholo- 
gical' doubts and fears. 

In this chapter, therefore, I shall be concerned with this 
irrational kind of unhappiness, but I would like to preface the 
subject by stressing the connection between this kind of 
unhappiness aad the one we have just been considering. 
Psychological unhappiness is not a special kind of unhappiness 
but runs straight back to the general human desire for love, 
approval and security. But instead of being concerned with real 
and tangible threats to approval and security it is concerned 
with imaginary ones with illogical beliefs about not being loved 
and not being safe, based on false premises. Yet, though the threat 
is imaginary, the unhappiness is very real, just as real as the terror 
which assails the victim of the hallucinations of delirium tremens. 
In fact, it may be the most important source of contemporary 
unhappiness. Probably much more of our unhappiness is due 


Industrial Personality 

to this sort of cause than we imagine: certainly most of the 
suicides and most of those who take refuge in drink, drugs and 
madness are accountable to it. Moreover, it is this which gives 
the real sting to overt frustrations. It is precisely when we have 
a neurotic sense of insecurity (for example) that we find real 
insecurity most intolerable. 

Accordingly, the question we must now ask is : is our culture 
well designed to build sound personalities or is it likely to 
produce cultural neurosis? 

To this end we must consider what effect industrialism has 
on the first experiences of the infant, those experiences which 
we designated as decisive for the formation of personality. We 
shall see that wherever industrialism flourishes much the same 
influences are brought to bear upon the infant. That is why we 
are entitled to speak of an industrial personality structure^ 
regardless of whether it is Russia, Germany, Britain or the 
United States which we may have in mind in any instance. Since, 
however, every culture carries an enormous number of elements 
drawn from its pre-industrial phase, some of which are signifi- 
cant to the formation of personality, industrial personalities 
are not ipso facto identical. Fortunately for our purpose, the 
whole of Europe, the United States and the nearer parts of 
Russia have long exhibited considerable cultural unity. In 
particular they have embraced the same religion and have 
derived from it many similar values. Hence we can, without 
too much inaccuracy, speak of a 'western industrial personality' 
and treat it is an entity for purposes of discussion. Not that the 
word 'western* is entirely satisfactory, since this culture has 
also been carried to Australia and other parts of the world, 
but it is hard to think of a better. 

Of course, only parts of the western cultural area are yet 
industrialised, so that the concept of 'western industrial 
personality' describes rather a pattern towards which we are 
rapidly moving, rather than a cross-section of the pattern which 
currently exists. 

So much for preliminaries. Let us now consider the decisive 
infantile experiences, 


Conditions of Happiness 
ii Formation of Personality 

The child's first traumatic experiences, we said, are likely to 
be deprivation of affection or deprivation of nourishment, which 
it interprets as being a sign of lack of affection also. 

Though western society does, in a general way, recognise the 
infant's imperious need for its mother's presence and affection, 
it can scarcely be denied that it subjects the infant to temporary 
separations on a relatively marked scale. Whereas the mothers 
of many primitive tribes carry their smallest baby around with 
them wherever they go, the western mother leaves it with a 
nurse, or even leaves it alone for considerable periods, while she 
is otherwise engaged. In particular, she leaves it when it is 
asleep, so that if it wakes it finds itself deserted. And though 
help usually comes in due course, this does little to mitigate 
the shock. 

How little we really appreciate the child's need for affection is 
shown by the extraordinary fact that many hospitals forbid 
parents to visit hospitalised children except when they are 
asleep. (It was, as a matter of fact, a case of this sort which led 
Bowlby to notice the connection between separation from parents 
and the formation of the 'affectionless character.' 1 ) 

If separation of this drastic kind is rare, to every child comes 
the shock of periodically remaining unfed when it is hungry, 
followed by the major experience of being weaned. 2 

In many primitive communities the mother or wet-nurse is 
always at hand and there is no taboo on publicly giving suck; 
frequently the-breasts are not concealed at any time. Though 
the giving of alternative foods may start early the breast is not 
wholly refused until quite late long after the child has become 
old enough to know that this refusal does not imply withdrawal 
of affection or danger of hunger. In the industrial west, however, 

1 J. Bowlby, op. cit. 

2 On the other hand, the more conscientious mother makes the 
mistake of insisting on a mechanically regular feeding schedule, 
instead of feeding the baby when it is hungry. It does not seem to be 
generally realised that thumb-sucking is a reaction pattern to oral 
frustration. Thumb-sucking is common among babies in our culture. 


Industrial Personality 

breast-feeding is very inconvenient for the mother. Everyone is 
more mobile today, and women are free, far more than formerly, 
to contract obligations outside the family circle, whether they 
be social or in the nature of work : the need to feed the baby 
interferes with these activities. A mother cannot take her infant 
with her to work, committee meeting, cinema or cocktail party, 
and is therefore strongly tempted to vary its feeding times to 
suit her plans, and to discontinue breast-feeding altogether as 
soon as practicable. 

Physiological factors also play a part and many city mothers 
are unable to supply adequate milk of suitable quality. 

In consequence the industrial child tends to be fed irregularly, 
to be bottle-fed rather than breast-fed, and to be weaned as 
early as possible. Weaning is generally started about the third 
month and is frequently completed by the sixth: that is, 
considerably before the child has become mentally capable of 
perceiving the enduring nature of its mother's affection, while 
the early irregularities occur before it has become confident 
of the reliability of its food supply. 

Hence the western child is liable to develop deep-lying 
doubts as to whether it is loved, and may also suffer from food 
anxieties. The various forms which these doubts may take will 
be discussed later. 

The child's second lesson is connected with its excretory 
function. It must learn to contain its urine and faeces 'to please 
mummy,' and to produce them upon demand for the same 
reason. As I have said, this act is significant both because it is 
the child's first creative act, and because it is the first act by 
which it can influence other people. 

In the western world there is strong social pressure towards 
completing the anal training of children as early as possible. 
The savage child, naked and playing most of the day on grass 
does no material damage by incontinence. The western child 
is clad in garments which must be changed and washed and 
liable to damage relatively delicate carpets and upholstery by 
incontinence. In addition, western habits of cleanliness make 
us more sensitive to odours and so more intolerant of excretory 


Conditions of Happiness 

smells. As a result, most mothers try to complete anal training 
by the earliest possible date; the age of two years seems to be 
widely regarded as the point by which a reasonably reliable 
standard of continence may be expected. 

Furthermore, lapses are generally treated as crimes : the child 
is told that it is 'naughty,' or that 'mother is cross.' In western 
society, therefore, retention of excreta becomes a way the way 
to win maternal affection; failure to do so becomes a source 
of guilt. There is also a third factor. Though the western mother 
is at first delighted by the production of faeces on demand the 
day comes when she treats faeces as dirty or disgusting. When 
this happens it seems to the child that its love-gift, so welcome 
before and so proudly offered, has been rejected. Apart from 
inculcating a somewhat rigid dislike of dirt, this inconsistency 
of its mother must produce much conflict and a sense of doubt 
about the effectiveness of all its actions. It seems reasonable 
to suppose that this tendency to regard faeces with disgust has 
been much intensified as our civilisation becomes more hygienic. 
The discovery of the role of 'dirt' in fostering bacteria played 
straight into the hands of our neurotic tendency. 

The third element in character formation is the phallic. 
Masturbation, as I said, is important as marking the child's 
discovery that it can gratify its desires by its own actions. I have 
not been able to find satisfactory evidence which would show 
whether or not the taboo on masturbation has changed in 
intensity over the European culture as a whole. It is certain, 
however, that it became particularly intense during the 
Victorian period and though it still remains strong, it is not 
punished to the same extent or treated with the same horror. 
One would therefore expect to find the contemporary child 
more independent, and more able to create his own interests 
without parental help than the Victorian child. This seems to 
be the case, but we should not make too broad an inference 
about the improvement of psychical weaning. The youngest 
child always has the greatest difficulty; hence the modern 
tendency to smaller families, which means that the population 
contains a higher proportion of youngest children, acts in an 

Industrial Personality 

adverse sense. The tendency for parents to have children at a 
greater age may also contribute to the child's difficulty in 
breaking free. 

There should, in addition, be a decrease in the tendency to feel 
that pleasure is wicked, and in asceticism and puritanism generally. 

Fourthly, there is the CEdipus situation. Without opening 
the question of whether the child's affection for its mother is 
fundamentally sexual, we can agree that it will feel jealousy for 
the father. 

To begin with, western society is monogamous, in itself a 
predisposing factor: in addition in western society the infant 
may not become aware of its father as an individual for some 
time, since he may spend the day at work, returning after it has 
gone to bed. It seems a reasonable speculation that the belated 
discovery of a rival comes as more of a shock than if he has been 
in the child's world from the beginning. Hence we may expect 
rather strong repressed aggression and guilt to mark western 

It is strongly held that the most powerful factor favouring 
the formation of an CEdipus complex is for a child to witness 
the 'primal scene.' In the overcrowded conditions of contem- 
porary industrialism, in which children often share their 
parents' bed, this experience becomes rather general, as many 
social workers have noted. 1 

A vital point in personality formation is the approved method 
of dealing with guilt: the reinstatement pattern. Western 
society is still strongly committed to the practice of atoning 
by punishment especially physical punishment, isolation and 
deprivation of rewards rather than confession, reparation or 
humiliation. Such methods contribute to feelings of being 
unwanted, to the belief that the way to get out of difficulties 
is to go without something ('to tighten one's belt') or undergo 
some unpleasant experience ('take one's medicine') and to the 
interpretation of sado-masochistic elements in terms of physical 
cruelty and deprivation rather than humiliation or psychological 

1 Cf. M. Paneth, Branch Street, 1944. 

Conditions of Happiness 

However, the violence of punishment seems to be decreasing. 

It is perhaps worth pointing out that western society offers 
an unusually high degree of general frustration to the ordinary 
child. A modern house, even a small one, is full of delicate 
bric-i-brac, easily dirtied surfaces, technical equipment (gas- 
stoves, radios, sewing-machines), sharp and dangerous tools, 
fragile accessories such as books, chinaware and lamps and 
miscellaneous personal property (fountain-pens, watches, 
barometers) which a child can damage. The western child is 
told 'don't touch' infinitely more often than, say, the Samoan 
or the Rhodesian baby. In fact, western society has been driven 
to the extreme of inventing a miniature prison for small 
children, called the play-pen, an extraordinary commentary on 
the unwelcomeness of the infant in the contemporary domestic 
milieu. Here is a fruitful source of aggression. It may also lead 
to a resigned and sheep-like attitude in which nothing can be 
attempted because it is a foregone conclusion that it is forbidden. 
So much for ontological factors : but neurosis can also be created, 
or enhanced, by situational factors, that is, elements in the 
cultural environment. These may be treated more briefly, since 
their chief effect is to intensify or exploit patterns laid down in 
infancy, these being the real determinants of personality. 

in Western Values as Causes 

The most striking feature of the western value system is that 
it puts forward -two conflicting codes of action for almost every 
situation. We are taught to admire strength and success, but 
also to be unselfish and love our neighbour. We are taught a 
revealed religion which asserts the existence of a future life 
and a body of science which denies all knowledge of it. We are 
taught hedonism and asceticism. We are taught that art is 
admirable but are not expected in practice to bother much 
about it. 

Each individual is left to resolve this conflict as best he may. 
Little wonder that he frequently finds himself torn between two 
courses of action. This, as we have seen, gives rise to neurosis. 


Industrial Personality 

Finally, we must mention an influence which lies somewhere 
between the two foregoing groups : the formation of standards 
of behaviour by the introjection of parental attitudes. 

Since in western society parental attitudes are conflicting, 
the child naturally tends to introject conflicting standards. It is 
probably true that in western society the child sees more of its 
mother and nurse than of its father, so, other things being equal, 
it will tend to introject womanly rather than manly standards. 
We must not rely on this too much because repeated intro- 
jections are made, and because the mother will generally teach 
the child to admire the father and if it is a boy will teach it that 
certain attitudes are proper to boys ('only little girls cry.') 
Then again, if relations with the mother are unsatisfactory, the 
child may react into rejection of the mother and her standards. 

IV Basic Personality Structure 

What kind of character structure do these experiences com- 
bine to create? 

In answering this question we must not make the mistake of 
drawing a picture which is too clear-cut. Western personality, 
even at its worst, contains favourable elements: if it were 
wholly neurotic western society would have collapsed long ago. 
It is the contradictions which are interesting and dangerous. 
Again, many of the elements we shall find in it are not undesir- 
able in themselves : they become dangerous only if we push them 
to an extreme if they become an obsession. Finally, we must 
not hope for a static picture: western personality is in a rapid 
atate of change and we shall often have to talk in terms of 
trends rather than of states. 

The principal contradiction we must face is that the predom- 
inant element is western personality is not a product of indus- 
trialism, but has dominated western Europe (not to mention 
other cultures and periods) for the last millenium. This is the 
ascetic element which makes us feel that all pleasure is won from 
a jealous universe and must be paid for by suffering. It is 
frequently rationalised in the form that pleasure is wicked, and 


Conditions of Happiness 

as such an assertion is quite impossible to justify by any rational 
method it is attributed to the fiat of God. It would be a fascinat- 
ing piece of research for someone to trace the way in which 
asceticism was grafted on to Christianity in defiance of consider- 
able evidence in the new testament that Christ was actually 
opposed to asceticism for its own sake. 1 A brilliant instance is 
the way in which some Christian sects have made teetotalism 
a tenet of their religion, despite the fact that Christ (and St. 
Paul, too, which is odder) accepted moderate wine-drinking as 

This ascetic element certainly originates in the sexual taboos 
which have flourished in our society for so long. Here we have 
a typical vicious circle : the taboos produce a personality which 
feels, guilty about sex, and such a personality maintains the 
taboos in its turn. However, such a circle can grow in size or can 
contract: which it does will depend chiefly on the violence of 
sexual guilt generated by the CEdipus situation, and to some 
extent on guilt generally. At the moment it is decreasing but 
we must not overestimate the amount of this decrease. Struck 
by the contrast between our own customs and those of a century 
ago it is a commonplace to complain that our sexual morals are 
lax. In reality they are still extremely strict. The sexual act is 
taboo in ordinary conversation, even when performed between 
legally married couples. Extra-marital sex, though common, is 
generally condemned. To attempt to acquire a skilful sexual 
technique is thought outre, and all variants from the approved 
pattern are regarded as being to a greater or lesser extent 
perversions. Quite a number of people feel that the only real 
justification for the sexual act is procreation. And, despite the 
overwhelming evidence of psychology and anthropology to the 
contrary, people obstinately resist the idea that children have 
sexual wishes. 

The marks of a neurotic reaction are excessive violence and 
rigidity; by this standard the reaction of most people to the idea 
of homosexuality and other abnormal sexual relationships can 

1 As far as I know this has not been done in detail, though there is 
a short sketch in John Macmurray's Reason and Emotion, 1935. 


Industrial Personality 

fairly be described as neurotic. To say this is not in any way to 
imply approval of or indifference to sexual perversion : a normal 
attitude is to regard it as a sad or even calamitous disability, a 
thing to be lamented and fought as we lament and fight tuber- 
culosis or cancer. But the typical western attitude to perversion 
is distinctly different from the typical attitude to a terrible 
physical perversion like cancer. It contains elements of resent- 
ment and anger: the typical reaction is not to pity and help but 
to drive out and destroy. We are not honest if we fail to recog- 
nise that a neurotic fear of homosexuality is, and long has been, 
an element in the western personality structure. 

The word homosexuality alone covers several distinct 
behaviour patterns and I cannot attempt to open up the difficult 
and still somewhat controversial subject of the pathology of 
perversion. I will, however, briefly mention a single typical 
pattern to help the reader unversed in analytical psychology to 
relate these remarks to what he already knows of personality 
structure. Faced with the (Edipus situation, in which his love 
for his father comes into conflict with his desire to possess the 
mother exclusively, a male child may seek to resolve the prob- 
lem by identifying himself with the father, or with the mother 
as already described. 1 To the extent that he identifies with the 
mother he adopts a female role and desires the sexual atten- 
tions of the father. All this, of course, is at the most primitive 
and unconscious level of his mind. Growing up into a society 
in which homosexual relations are tabooed, he is forced to 
repress strictly his desire for his father. 

Now it is a typical pattern that people resent most bitterly 
IH others the things which tempt them most themselves. We 
have no sympathy for our own failings when we meet them in 
others and in punishing those others we punish ourselves. (This 
may seem a rather arbitrary statement but it has been proved 
in detail again and again in clinical work. 2 ) Thus western man's 
intense antagonism to homosexuality in others entitles us to 
suspect a repressed urge to engage in it himself. This is not to 

1 See p. 84. 

* Examples may be found in, e.g., C. Berg, War in the Mind, 1944. 


Conditions of Happiness 

say that western men are all on the verge of homosexuality, 
because if the urge were once made conscious it would be seen 
for what it is an infantile and impractical pattern, inferior in 
reward to normal intercourse and in most cases it would be 
rejected and disposed of permanently. 

This element finds expression in the rigid fear of being 
thought effeminate or 'cissy' which marks both British and 
American culture. Any detached observer of our societies would 
certainly find it a matter for comment that men fear to be 
thought effeminate whereas women do not, to anything like 
the same obsessive extent, fear being thought masculine. Thus 
no odium attaches to a woman who wears trousers, while it is 
unthinkable that a man should wear a skirt. 

I shall have some further reflections to make upon this 
element in due course, but first let us continue with the outline. 

The most serious effect of our rigid sexual ethic is its inhib- 
ition of potency, and the creation of a drive to justify one's 
manhood in substitute forms. This we have already referred to 
as the drive to self-validation. It is this which has produced the 
thousand-year-long spasm of productive and creative energy 
which has marked western civilisation. Perhaps this is the 
outstanding feature of the western personality and it owes its 
strength to the way in which it is reinforced by other elements 
in the personality. For instance, we can see that an uncon- 
sciously-motivated fear of 'being a cissy' will intensify the drive 
to prove one's manhood by excelling in whatever activities are 
regarded by society as the proper domain of men in our case, 
sport and business activity. And, as we shall see in a moment, 
this drive ateo derives energy from both oral and anal, as well as 
phallic levels. 

Last of the direct consequences of sexual taboos is western 
man's outstanding inquisitiveness. Since I am thinking here of 
scientific investigation, the urge to explore and plain curiosity, 
perhaps I should dignify it by a grander term; let us say 'the 
investigatory character.' Because sexual knowledge is hidden, 
the child hitches its sexual drive to the discovery of hidden facts. 
Facts which are imparted to it voluntarily by adults have little 


Industrial Personality 

charm, but anything which constitutes a mystery and a challenge 
is a very different matter. And to the extent that it is a challenge, 
the situation borrows force from the self-validatory urge. 

These four elements : self- validation, asceticism, curiosity and 
fear of homosexuality, have played a considerable role through- 
out the history of western civilisation, as well as in some other 
cultures. Since our sexual taboos have been relaxed a little in 
the last fifty years there may have been some tendency for these 
elements to become less marked, but we cannot conclude that 
such a relaxation is part of a long-term trend. Our history shows 
that such relaxations have usually intensified guilt feelings and 
created new waves of asceticism, as when the Roundheads 
replaced the Cavaliers. 

If industrialism has had any overt effect, no doubt it has been 
to weaken sexual taboos by inducing a practical and material, 
rather than a mystical and moral attitude. Its most obvious 
covert effect, however, has probably been to intensify guilt, 
and it would not take very much to direct this guilt into ascetic 
channels again. On the other hand, if it has favoured mother- 
identification it has helped to weaken sexual taboos which are 
jcertainly related to the father's unconscious desire to keep his 
woman to himself. 

Let us now turn to character elements which though far from 
new, have been more obviously intensified by the industrial- 
isation of western life. First, there is anxiety. Few would chal- 
lenge the assertion that we are much less self-assured, much 
less self-confident than our forefathers. Today such an attitude 
is justified by the overt world situation, but it is not caused by it. 
The attitude has been developing for years, and the overt 
situation merely provides it with a justification. This anxiety 
can be traced primarily, I think, to the abruptness of weaning 
and irregularity of feeding, which we have mentioned, but it 
also elements at the anal level (fear of loss of affection through 
loss of anal control) and at the phallic level (fear of impotence, 
fear of homosexual urges). 

Since this anxiety is primarily caused by loss of affection we can 
identify in the personality a neurotic desire to be loved. The desire 

C.H. 13 185 

Conditions of Happiness 

to be loved is, of course, normal enough; but here it becomes 
rigid and excessive or obsessive. 

Second, there is guilt. Few would challenge the assertion 
that today we tend to blame ourselves, to ask 'what have we 
done wrong ?' when the situation is adverse and to resign our- 
selves to misfortune by 'tightening our belts': that is, we expect 
our mistakes to be met with punishment. Here again, our 
attitude is probably perfectly appropriate to the situation: it 
generally is our own fault, at least in part, when things go 
wrong. But the significant thing is that our forefathers rarely 
accused themselves, even when obviously in the wrong; nor 
did they project the blame on to some other party, which is 
merely a way of dealing with guilt. They put it down to ill 
luck and left it at that. 

The most generally recognised source of guilt is the QEdipus 
situation, though I think we may also have to look still further 
back for it, since children often seem to interpret the real or 
apparent loss of their mother's affection as due to some defect 
in themselves. Guilt is also present at the anal level. (Fear of 
punishment for loss of sphincter control.) 

The third great character element is drawn primarily from 
the anal level and takes on a dual form: retentiveness and 
productiveness, especially at the material plane. Western man 
likes piling up property or money both by accumulating it and 
by producing it. Single individuals may favour one or the other 
according as in their experience, failure to retain was greeted 
by punishment or productiveness rewarded by approval. 

Though productivity is most generally interpreted in material 
terms we must not forget that it also appears as creativity. 
Obsessed as we are with the productive character of our society 
it is easy to overlook its remarkable creativeness. 

This element draws important forces from the oral level also, 
since to pile up a supply of good things helps to assuage the 
fear that the source of all good things may suddenly be cut off. 
It is, I believe, true that house-training is the most violent of our 
disciplines. The damage to property, the element of shame 
(borrowed from sex, since the excretory organs are so close to 


Industrial Personality 

the sex organs) the dirt, all combine to make the mother quite 
rigidly insistent on anal control, and prolonged failure is often 
met with most violent beatings and other punishments. 

If we are realistic we must also designate cleanliness, or rather 
shame at dirtiness, as an element in western character. This 
derives, naturally, from the anal situation and is certainly far 
more marked in the west than in almost any other culture. 

To complete our survey it is necessary to deal briefly with 
parent identification and aggression. Western character has long 
been comparatively aggressive, as characters go in the world 
as a whole, a fact which can probably be traced to defective 
social control, permitting individuals to place obstacles in the 
way of their fellow men. Recently, however, the picture has 
changed in important respects. The growth in size of society 
and the failure of its natural sanctions has both permitted 
individuals to frustrate their fellow men on the economic plane 
and has evoked, by reaction, a central government which seeks 
to stop these attempts at the cost of imposing new frustrations. 
At the same time, the overt expression of aggression in violence 
has become much harder. In consequence aggression is bottled 
up and escapes either in converted forms (sado-masochism, 
racialism, political vindictiveness, vindictive written criticism, 
etc.), or in those periodic waves of aggressive activity we call 
war. In short, I should call suppressed or converted aggression a 
feature of industrial personality. 

Finally we may note a tendency to change from a patriform 
to a matriform society. Today crimes against the supply of food 
and goods are taken more seriously than crimes against pro- 
tected women, the sky-father religion is in decline, democracy 
(so-called) is rapidly extending and authoritarianism is in decline. 
Once the father was the dominant figure in the home; today, as 
studies such as that of Radke has shown, the mother rules the 
roost. 1 

To sum up, the contemporary western personality is obsessed 
by the need to validate itself, by fear of homosexuality and the 

1 M. J. Radke, The Relation of Parental Authority to Children's 
Behaviour and Attitudes, 1946. 


Conditions of Happiness 

need to find out. It is anxious and guilty. It is retentive and 
productive, materialistic but creative. It is anxious to co-operate, 
but full of bottled-up aggression. Its energy and creativeness are 
strong points, but they are made into bad ones by being carried 
to an obsessive extreme. Its fear and guilt are bad points. As it 
stands, it is not a personality we can expect to yield happiness 
to its possessors. 

v Western Values as Effects 

I have already said almost enough, I imagine, to indicate how 
closely the pattern of western society is dictated by the irrational 
demands of the western personality, and certainly enough to 
show that our society is deeply marked by cultural neurosis. 

However it may crystallise the picture finally to list briefly 
the main values which we derive from this personality, for 
values are the determinants of the socio-cultural pattern. 
Inevitably it is a society which concentrates its energies on 
finance and production, and conceives success in terms of money, 
power and goods. 

Probing more closely one can detect five valuations which 
chiefly dictate the shape of western society. The first is mater- 
ialism, a preoccupation with the material world of things and 
people in their material aspect. About this enough has been 

Secondly, there is preoccupation with success. How deep this 
preoccupation goes is shown by the fact that it scarcely strikes 
us as odd that people should value success. Yet would it not be 
more rational to value happiness ? Few are so naive as to suppose 
that the men we call successful are the happiest among us, yet 
we censure the man who eschews fame and retires into a happy 
mediocrity for wasting his talents. 

Thirdly, we set an absurdly high value on our food supply. 
To insist on enough food for nutritional needs is reasonable, 
but we don't do this. We carry our eating to extremes of gourman- 
dise and even have ritualised it. When we want to do honour 
to a man, we give a banquet ! Try and put yourself in the position 


Industrial Personality 

of a detached observer and perhaps you will see how truly 
astonishing that fact is. The luckless man is not in need of food: 
he would much prefer something useful, such as a free pass on 
the railways. We would honour ourselves much more if we 
honoured him by giving a concert or a ballet. 

This preoccupation with food becomes confused with our 
preoccupation with winning approval, with the result that we 
hold those who fail to secure food in low esteem. This corres- 
ponds to the frequently heard assertion that the unemployed 
are not to be pitied as they could get work if they had more guts. 
And to the equally scornful but quite contradictory assertion 
that they are unemployed because they are unemployable. 

Fourthly, there is our growing tendency to idolise the mother ', 
who is doubly important because she is also the original source 
of our food supply. Here we may think of the American 
institution of Mothers' Day, which is generally supported, while 
recent attempts to institute a Fathers' Day were a total failure. 
American mother-worship may also be seen in many films and 
the commission of both civil and military crimes is presented 
as fully justified when the object is to gratify a mother. 1 Rather 
naturally, this value seeps over into our sexual life, and a 
striking feature of American culture, which is also emerging 
in Britain, is breast- worship. The quasi-pornographic semi- 
nude drawings known as 'pin-up girls' are distinguished by the 
anatomical peculiarity of slimness amounting to serious under- 
development, except in the region of the mammary glands 
which are depicted as of phenomenal size and in a state of 
tension, such as exists only when they are in milk. They are 
relatively much larger than those on the Venus de Milo, although 
in every other respect the figure is much slimmer. 2 This 
graphically illustrates the oral anxieties of the American charac- 
ter and reveals why the American man cannot escape from the 
domination of the mother-figure. 
Many other facts could be adduced, such as the fact that the 

1 One of many instances : Hail the Conquering Hero. 

2 Cf. also the almost proverbial American belief that the highest 
standard in cooking is 'as mother used to make it.' 


Conditions of Happiness 

American conscience is primarily derived from maternal 
standards, or the choice of a female figure for the national 
emblem (the Statue of Liberty, Britannia) but the point is 
already clear, and the only important qualification which should 
be made is the fact that Germany forms an exception to this 
pattern, as we shall see in the following chapter. 

Finally, we must mention the high value placed on competition 
between males. Though its origin lies in doubts of potency, this 
pattern gathers particular force in America because it becomes 
the way to win maternal affection. Another typical pattern in 
western society is to urge the child towards manhood. It is 
constantly told that it is too old for certain types of behaviour, 
or that it will be allowed certain desired freedoms when it is 
older. Margaret Mead has observed a distinct correlation 
between this practice and competitiveness in the adult. 1 Here, 
again, we readily tend to take the competitive pattern for 
granted, ignoring the fact that nature displays as many co- 
operative as competitive patterns, and ignoring too how little 
it governs the actions of women. A woman does not cook 
primarily with the object of cooking better than her neighbour, 
and in general no devices exist for establishing comparisons in 
women's skill, except a few imported from the masculine 
world. In the male world, however, the most unlikely activities 
have been dragged into conformity with this pattern, and the 
preoccupation with the idea of establishing a record has become 

It is clear^ then, that the pecularities of western society are 
the reflection of our peculiar non-valid needs. Just as the 
Marquesan indulges in human sacrifice to bolster his confidence, 
despite the endless train of bloodshed and reprisal; just as the 
Dobuan lives out his life in paranoiac suspicion and fear; just 
as the Kwakiutl asserts himself by prodigal wastage and destruc- 
tion; so western industrial man seeks to relieve the tensions in 
his soul by the unremitting production of goods and the 
accumulation of money, heedless of the cost in frustration and 

1 M. Mead, Co-operation and Competition among Primitive Peoples, 


Industrial Personality 

fear. Little does he understand that his efforts only intensify 
for those who follow the anxieties from which he is trying to 

vi Western Culture 

Our thesis is stated: society conditions personality, but 
personality conditions society. The familiar commonplace that 
our psychological problems are due to our competitive environ- 
ment turns out to be only a half truth. With more originality 
and equal accuracy, we may point to our psychological problems 
as the source of the competitive system. 

Discovery of this interlocking relationship is, I would firmly 
suggest, one of the most important steps in the history of 
society. We could not understand our past, nor had we any 
hope of determining our future until it had been made. Theories 
of history and sociology which ignore unconscious forces are 
so much bunk. Ford was very nearly right. Attempts to account 
for our position in terms of society alone or psychology alone 
are futile and we must look for causes in a direction at right- 
angles to the vicious circle. In the case in question the immediate 
external cause is undoubtedly modern technology. Man would 
be glad enough to pursue happiness by other means if he knew 
them. Technology offers him a reliable, easily accessible device 
for meeting at least the very vivid needs for food and shelter, 
and indirect means of satisfying some of his other desires. Small 
wonder that he takes the opportunity; and the more he concen- 
trates on this particular instrument for achieving happiness, the 
easier it is for subsequent individuals to follow the path; indeed, 
the harder it becomes to follow any other. 

But modern technology has its roots primarily in curiosity 
and the drive for self-validation, so that we can trace our 
present situation back primarily to our sexual taboos; and these 
in turn are chiefly predicated on the patriform personality, with 
its desire to isolate women sexually. Thus, as far as western 
society is concerned, Freud was right to point to the CEdipus 
complex as the dominant factor. 


Conditions of Happiness 

Western man's mistake is thus to have advanced much too 
far on one sector, while the armies on his flanks are still fighting 
heavy defensive battles with the enemy. At any moment he 
may be cut off and wiped out in one of these 'battles of 
annihilation' of which we used to hear so much. Indeed, the 
battle may already have started. In such a position, if it is not 
too late, the only course is to withdraw. This does not mean that 
civilisation must 'reject the machine.' It must absorb it. Scien- 
tists are right to reject the rural Utopias of Morris and Butler 
as unrealistic retreats from the problem. But they are wrong 
when they argue that civilisation must be adapted to the 
machine. It is the machine which must be adapted to civilisation. 

But that is not the course the world is following at present. 
So, before we try and visualise the structure of a machine- 
using, as opposed to a machine-dominated, civilisation, let us 
examine two contemporary reactions to the problem of western 
unhappiness communism and fascism. 



i Popularity of Fascism n Fascism Defined in Appeal of Fascism 

iv Status Under Fascism v Integration under Fascism vi Why 

Fascism Fails vn Fascism's Values vm The German Mind 

ix War and Happiness x Danger of a Fascist Revival 

I Popularity of Fascism 

1 HE phenomenon of fascism has not been disposed of by the 
victory of the United Nations any more than pneumonia is 
disposed of when a patient is cured. 

We cannot expect to be safe from fascism until we have 
discovered why it possesses such a hypnotic power over people's 
minds, for if it displayed it once it may do so again. Indeed, 
it does so at this moment, for in many countries authoritarian, 
quasi-fascist regimes still flourish, and receive a considerable 
measure of support from the population. 

Nothing is more misleading that to conceive of fascism as a 
hated regime maintained by force. A regime maintained by 
force is what we commonly call a dictatorship, and there have 
been many dictatorships before fascism was thought of. What 
concerns us is how fascism differs from straightforward dictator- 
ship. The characteristic feature of fascism is that it is welcomed 
in spite of its authoritarianism, in spite of its cruelties, in spite 
of all the objections which strike the onlooker as so obvious. 
Clearly it has (or seems to have) something to offer that is so 
desirable as to outweigh all these frightful disadvantages. 

Anyone who was present in Germany when the Nazis were 
coming to power, or anyone who has had the opportunity of 
reading the diaries of dead German soldiers, or who had any 
other window into the German mind, will have been struck by 
the tremendous conviction many Germans displayed that here 
was something worth fighting for, something which justified 

Conditions of Happiness 

all personal sacrifice, all cruelties and treacheries, something so 
absorbing that without it life was scarcely worth living. 

If we apply to fascism the criteria we have established as 
conditions of happiness, I think we shall gain an idea what that 
something was. We shall see that fascism undertook to satisfy 
essential psychological appetites, even at the cost of many 
physical needs. We shall also see why the solution did not prove 
an enduring one. 

ii Fascism Defined 

First, however, we had better agree on what we mean by 
fascism. The word has been so used and misused during the past 
ten years that it is no longer any more an abusive epithet applic- 
able to anything we don't like. For instance, it is often said that 
fascism is 'gangster rule' but this shows a complete misunder- 
standing of the nature of fascism. If it were merely gangster 
rule it would be far less dangerous than it is. Fascism embodies 
a perfectly coherent political philosophy, one quite capable of 
attracting the support of people who would never be found 
supporting gangsters. It happens that in Germany the regime 
made the mistake of gathering round it many individuals of 
what may loosely be called the gangster type (though a profes- 
sional psychologist would probably not agree even to this) 
while in other cases, such as Argentina, crude dictators have 
borrowed fascist devices to help in keeping the public under 
control. I will revert to this point at the end of the chapter, but 
first let us see what fascism really is. 

The basic concept of fascism, as I understand it, is that the 
state is held to be more important than the individual. The state, 
instead of being seen as a convenient arrangement formed by 
individuals to assist them in attaining their individual ends, 
acquires a mystic significance and the role of the individual is 
to serve the state. In this it is different both from capitalism 
and from communism; for the communist revolution, even if 
it has tended to become an end in itself was always advertised 
as a device for benefiting individuals in the end, while monopoly 
capitalism, even in its extremest form, can hardly be analysed 


Fascist Solution 

as anything but an attempt to benefit individuals, even if only 
a minority of them. 1 One of the things which has helped to 
confuse the issue has been the communist description of fascism 
as 'the last stage of monopoly capitalism.' This would make it 
no more than another dictatorship. According to this descrip- 
tion the exploited masses are rigidly held down by their fascist 
masters but as we have just noted, the significant feature of 
fascism is that millions of 'exploited workers' supported it. 
On the other hand, capitalist apologists have suggested that 
there is little difference between fascism and communism but 
we have already noted a crucial difference and will explore the 
matter further in the next chapter. The truth is, capitalism and 
communism are economic methods, fascism dictatorship and 
democracy are political methods. Fascism might employ either 
communism or capitalism for its purpose, just as democracy 
or crude dictatorship might. 2 

From this central concept of the subservience of the individual 
to the state flow the other features of fascism. Since the state is 
all, the actions of the individual are subject to state control. 
But this control is not exerted by an individual dictator as such; 
the leader is only the interpreter of the destinies and needs of 
the state. The idea that the fortunes of the state are the only 
interest which matters leads naturally to the concept that 
military power and territorial conquest are proper objectives, 
since these are often held to redound to the glory of states. 
Naturally, but not, I think, inevitably. It is conceivable, on 
paper anyway, that a fascist state might exist which thought its 
glory better served by peaceful behaviour and the maintenance 
of a high standard of living for its citizens. In practice, the 
combination is improbable, because goodwill and a belief in 

1 For a clear-sighted discussion of the nature of fascism, see E. B. 
Ashton, The Fascist: His State and His Mind, 1936. 

* Fascism's readiness to use state ownership of the means of production 
as a method whenever convenient is explicitly stated in the fascist Carta 
del Lavoro of April 21, 1927, Art. IX : * State interference in economic 
affairs takes place only where private initiative is lacking or insufficient, 
or where political interests of the state are affected. Such interference 
can take the form of supervision, aid, or direct assumption of control. 


Conditions of Happiness 

authoritarianism rarely go hand in hand (since one is based on 
mother identification, the other on father identification). Similar 
considerations apply to cruelty and ruthlessness : it is possible 
to conceive a fascist state which did not rely on cruelty, but the 
psychological attitude which welcomes authoritarianism is usually 
prone to cruelty too though not necessarily to the pathological 
extreme exhibited by Germany. Thus the links between fascism 
and cruelty and aggression are psychological rather than political. 
But it is not the appeal of fascism to specialised psychological 
types with which we are now concerned, but its appeal to the 
population as a whole. To explain this appeal we do not have 
to resort to clumsy generalisations about the German character. 
Incidentally, it is always the German character which occupies 
writers on the psychology of fascism as if there were no other 
fascist nations. Instead, we can interpret it in terms of the prim- 
ary needs and appetites which are common to all humanity. 

in Appeal of Fascism 

Fascism rediscovered the remarkable paradox that people are 
happier when devoting themselves to a larger purpose than when 
working for their own material satisfaction. Fascism offered a 
cause to work for, and thus reimbued people's life with purpose. 
It enabled them to sink their personal identities in a larger unit 
and thus to forget their personal sense of isolation and helpless- 
ness, of futility and mortality, while giving them a stake in its 
achievements and a sense of sharing the glory of its achievements. 

This cause, as we now can see, was not worthy of the devotion 
it inspired but the point is that, at the time, many people 
thought it was. It is easy to be wise after the event. The victims 
of fascism might have been less easily duped if an alternative 
cause of equal attraction and solider credentials had been 
available. As a matter of fact there was an alternative cause: 
communism. And it was precisely from the ranks of the 
communists that the Nazis won many of their most fervent 
supporters. Hitler was quick to see that the same mentality 
which turned in its dissatisfaction to communism might turn 


Fascist Solution 

equally well to Nazism. As we know, he even chose red as the 
colour of the Nazi flag in order to attract people into his 
meetings under the impression they were communist meetings. 1 

Why communism failed to hold its converts we shall consider 
in the next chapter. What is more relevant here is to ask why 
the capitalist democracies were unable to offer a programme 
and a purpose at , least as enthralling. To their failure to do 
so the successes of fascism are, in an important sense, due. 

Participation in a larger purpose not only dissolves the sense 
of personal unimportance and helplessness but fosters a feeling 
of mastery. This feeling was fed by parades of armed strength 
in which the feeling of power could be savoured in vivid form. 
Even the most frustrated office worker could feel that he was 
playing a part in a programme of power and this banished the 
sense of futility in his job. The steady elimination of luxury 
trades and services and the transfer of labour into industries 
serving the task of national reconstruction and expansion also 
helped to provide the cog-in-the-machine worker with a new 
sense of purpose. Such transfers often meant a loss of pay 
but they led to few protests because the psychological satis- 
faction of the new role outweighed the material loss. 

Apart from the increase in vicarious mastery implied by 
membership in a masterful state, there was a marked increase 
in crude mastery. The transfer of workers from clerical to 
manual jobs, the induction of men into the armed forces where 
they could operate guns, tanks and planes, the labour battalions 
of the Hitler Youth, all provided outlets for crude manual 
mastery, while the huge administrative machine, the party, 
the secret police and the expanding forces also provided open- 
ings for mastery of the administrative and executive kind. 

Further, the fascist programme added to the sense of personal 

security, not only in the spiritual sense we have just considered, 

but also in the material sense. The almost complete elimination 

of unemployment assured the ordinary individual that, however 

small his stipend, he could at least rely on it continuing to be 

paid. Moreover, he knew that employers were not free to try 

1 A. Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1934. 


Conditions of Happiness 

and force his wages down, but must conform to the wage-fixing 
agreements made at the national level. In addition, the more 
erratic personal crises of marriage, illness, and death which 
represent such a bugbear to those who have no margin of 
savings were largely met by grants and relief organisations. 

Of course, these gains in security were not unequivocal. 
Enjoyment of them was absolutely contingent on conformity 
to the purposes of the state. Deprived of membership in his 
state-approved trade union or professional association, no one 
could get any kind of a job. The choice was total security or 
nothing. And as we know the long-run consequence was war, 
which leads to extreme insecurity. But in the early days of the 
party this was obvious to few. 

Much has been made of the rule of terror maintained by the 
secret police. But in reality even in Germany where it was most 
marked, this factor did not affect the bulk of the population. 
It was only the active opponents of Nazism, the Jews and the 
communists, who went in terror of their lives. The ordinary 
man saw little of the Gestapo, for all that he heard many 
rumours. (After the war began to go against Germany, of course, 
things were different.) If he was afraid of anyone, it was more 
probably the local party official. But in the early days, when the 
fascist movement appeared in the light of a great crusade, the 
local party organiser (who was generally an old inhabitant of the 
district, well known to all) appeared in the light of a hard- 
working and public-spirited individual. 

Fascism, then, yielded dividends in mastery, security and 
purpose. To these we may add a fourth consideration, consis- 
tency. The conflicting values of democracy were replaced with 
a clear-cut standard. No longer need one waver between the 
command to 'be a success* and the command to 'love your 
neighbour.' For these were substituted one janequivocal criter- 
ion : does it advance the cause of the state ? And lest there should 
be any doubt whether specific actions did or did not do so, 
a copious propaganda was at hand to point the right road out. 
A striking feature of the German basic personality seems to 
be the existence of large quantities of guilt. It has become 


Fascist Solution 

customary to attribute these feelings to the 1918 defeat, but 
there is not the faintest evidence that mass-neurosis can be 
produced in adults in this simple way. What the 1918 defeat did 
was to serve as a convenient rallying point for already existing 
guilt feelings and as a rationalisation of them. Such guilt 
feelings must have been induced separately in each individual 
at an early age and are almost certainly of QEdipal origin. This 
conforms with what we know of the German basic personality, 
with its strong father-fixation. 

One of fascism's, specifically Nazism's, most remarkable 
achievements was its successful handling of this source of 
misery. Two methods were employed, one to deal with pre- 
existing guilt and one to minimise the chance of further guilt 
arising. For the first, a scapegoat or series of scapegoats, were 
chosen: the Jews, the communists and the plutocrats. The 
1918 defeat was explained as a 'stab in the back* by traitorous 
radicals. Economic misfortunes were the work of the Jews, and 
so on. This mechanism has been several times described. 1 
Less attention has been devoted to the other mechanism. By 
means of the leadership principle, and in virtue of being the 
subject of widespread identification, Hitler was able to take 
over super-ego functions for the whole nation. Any misdeed, 
any cruelty, any betrayal was on Hitler's conscience, and Hitler's 
alone. The citizen's only duty was obedience, and provided he 
gave that he could sleep sound. That is why Germans could 
tolerate mass-executions and concentration camps, and why 
they looked so dazed when the Allied armies held them 

iv Status Under Fascism 

The concept of the all-important state made possible a 
dramatic transformation of the German status-system. Before 
the Nazis came to f>ower it was strongly hereditary, though in a 
manner quite different from England. In the latter country 
birth gave access to the best social circles, to the fields of politics 
and diplomacy, and was a factor in the higher command of 
1 Cf. P. Nathan, The Psychology of Fascism, 1943. 

Conditions of Happiness 

the army. In the Germany of Bismarck the influence of birth 
was much more pervasive. To enter the civil service, even in 
the humble grades of postal and customs officials, it was neces- 
sary to have been born into one of the right families. In the 
army, birth played a role beside which its influence in the 
British army seems insignificant. It is hardly an exaggeration 
to say that only a nobleman could be an officer. 1 By the time 
of the Weimar republic this system had naturally lost some of 
its severity but the feeling of the omnipresence of privilege 
was still strong among the solid bulk of the population. 

For this rigid system the Nazis substituted the principle of 
advancement and prestige according to the value rendered to 
the state. This principle was enforced with considerable 
thoroughness. Low economic and social status was never the 
slightest bar to advancement in industry, in the party or in the 
armed forces. On the contrary, it seems as if the Nazis took 
especial pleasure in advancing the lowly, no doubt reckoning 
that they thereby gained loyal supporters since their hopes of 
maintaining their new position were wholly dependent on the 
success of the National Socialist movement. This policy was 
applied with determination even in the caste-ridden Reichs- 
wehr. The ranks were combed through and through for potential 
officer material; promotion was no longer dependent on length 
of service and good conduct stripes but on initiative and 
resource in the severe mock battles of training. Moreover, 
commissions were often awarded on the field without further 
ado by umpires who attended for the purpose. 

Again, the establishment of the Nazi party and the growth 
of the forces and the administrative machine created countless 
new 'status ladders' for the ambitious, while the transfer of 
labour from luxury industries to industries serving the purposes 
of the state greatly reduced the number of people in jobs devoid 
of natural status. 

The fascist type of status can best be described as pseudo- 

1 In 1860, after the Manteuffel purge, two-thirds of the line 
officers, all the guards officers, and 95 per cent, of the other cavalry 
officers were nobles. See F. Neumann, Behemoth, 1942. 


Fascist Solution 

functional. Once the tenet that the state comes before the 
individual is accepted, this type of status appears as functional. 
But as long as one believes that the object of the state is to serve 
the individual then status based on value to the state is only 
functional as long as the state is truly subserving individual 
needs. (This, of course, is the crucial issue in assessing any 
fascist device.) Accordingly, what the fascist call functional 
status does not coincide with the natural assessment of the 
ordinary man who, unless converted to fascist ideology, tends 
to assess status by value to individuals. But the distinction does 
not become obvious until the fact that the state is not serving 
individuals 'needs becomes obvious. Thus the task of the Nazis 
in the early days was a double one: to convince people that 
Nazism was, indeed, serving their needs by such obvious 
benefits as reduction of unemployment, road building, and the 
'strength-through-joy' movement while steadily working to 
convert people to the belief that their overriding interest was the 
glory and renown of the Nazi state. 

A pseudo-functional status system of this type has both 
advantages and disadvantages when compared with a truly 
functional system. Its main advantage is that status is never 
in doubt. The most familiar instance of such a system in 
democratic countries is the status system of the army ; a man's 
status is at once revealed by his badges of rank and consequently 
there need be no hesitation whether to defer or whether to take 
the lead whenever two or more men meet. When two individuals 
meet in a non-militaristic status system, each must seek to 
impress the other with his value by devious means, and many 
find this obligation exhausting or exasperating (hence, of 
course, such unofficial status-badges as the old school tie). The 
disadvantages of any such system is that official rank does not 
always conform with true value, even when this is measured 
on an arbitrary scale, such as value to the army or the state. 
That party favourites were promoted was, as is well known, a 
common complaint in the later days of Nazism. But what the 
Anglo-American observer almost always failed to realise was 
that the complaint was really a complaint that the authorities 

C.H. 14 201 

Conditions of Happiness 

were not adhering to true fascist principles, rather than a 
complaint against fascism itself. Just as a complaint of unjustified 
promotion in the British army would not represent any objection 
to the army as an institution. 

v Integration Under Fascism 

But it was in the task of integrating the community that 
fascism scored its most definitive success. As Ashton has pointed 
out, both Germany and Italy had but recently emerged from a 
struggle to unify the state by extinguishing the authority of a 
score of petty princelings. For each of them central rule 
represented not dictatorship, but a greater degree of freedom 
than they had known under a system of local and individual 
freedom, so-called. The disruption of the post-war years, when 
scores of splinter-parties battled for a following and none had 
control, and when several towns established soviet independent 
governments, recalled with uncomfortable vividness the days 
of the dukedoms. Thus unity was an objective of supreme 
importance, such as we in Britain can hardly conceive. 

Fascism provided the effective political integration needed, 
and also integrated the industrial sphere, but it did not stop 
at this. It also provided the individual with opportunities to 
sink his identity in something greater, in consciousness of the 
united state. The mass rallies, the processions, and the broad- 
casts of the leader which seemed so ridiculous to watchers 
overseas actually performed a vital function. 

The weakness of fascist integration was that it spurned the 
traditional stages in the hierarchy of integration family, in- 
group, clan and so on and substituted artificial hierarchies of 
party, youth movement, professional chamber and workers' 
front. In doing so it cut across irrefragable biological and 
emotional ties. Consequently integration could only be main- 
tained by a continuous frenzied effort of propaganda. But owing 
to the disruption of the basic ties natural cohesion steadily 
diminished, so that the attempt to whip up an artificial unity 
had to be executed with ever more frenetic energy. Actually, 


Fascist Solution 

this process had not proceeded far: the consequences of the 
disruption of family ties had hardly come home to roost by 
the time fascism was dethroned. In the short run, it could claim 
an undeniable success. Only a fool would call the Germany of 
1935 less integrated than that of 1925. 

vi Why Fascism Fails 

So far, then, we have seen that fascism provides a plausible 
answer to the demands for mastery, security, integration, 
purpose, consistency and functional status. In regard to the two 
other primary needs it is less successful. It does not, in essence, 
do anything to improve variety; on the contrary, the high 
degree of centralisation involved and the emphasis on consis- 
tency, must inevitably reduce variety. As against this, some minor 
gains may be recorded. For instance, the obligation to do mili- 
tary training took many people out of a humdrum middle-class 
groove and introduced to them new friends, new surroundings 
and new tasks. But chiefly fascism relied, as does democracy, 
on distraction. The constant political manoeuvres of the state 
(and, in the event of war, its military fortunes) provide a 
spectacle in which the onlooker can find vicarious excitement 
on an unparalleled scale. 

Fascism's most manifest failure, however, is in regard to love. 
Fascism is obliged to try and induce people to direct all their 
affection towards the state. Affection between individuals is 
only permissible if it does not interfere with the purpose of 
the state. It was in accordance with this need that the Nazis 
were obliged to teach children to spy on their parents; the 
normal emotions of family solidarity could not be allowed to 
stand in the way of the state's needs. Since they conceived the 
purposes of the state in terms of military aggression, the Nazis 
were obliged to go further and frown on all exhibitions of the 
tender emotions as 'unmanly.' And not merely on exhibiting it 
but on feeling it. 

They sought to divert the emotion thus dammed up on to 
Hitler, as leader of the state. Hitler always addressed his vast 


Conditions of Happiness 

audiences with the intimate *Ihr' and sought to assume the 
position of a father surrogate. But as we know, frustrated 
affection turns to hate, and so the Nazis had to deal with 
abnormal quantities of aggression. This was not altogether 
inconvenient, for in so far as they could turn it against other 
nations they created the requisite attitude to approve war, while 
in turning the overplus against the Jews in the domestic sphere 
they were able to provide an alibi for all their failures. 

These are the immediate failures of fascism. The ultimate 
weakness is, however, its orientation towards war. The con- 
ception of the paramountcy of national interests is almost 
certain to be interpreted in territorial or economic terms and 
must finally lead to a clash. Only if a fascist state were to inter- 
pret national pre-eminence in terms of emotional, intellectual 
and artistic achievement could war be avoided and then we 
should have the chance to see whether the immediate disad- 
vantages would finally undermine its position. 

vn Fascism's Values 

It was, I think, Peter Drucker who first pointed out that 
fascism represents an abandonment of the materialist (or 
economic) code of value, and stressed the great significance of 
this fact. 1 Practically all political and economic thinking during 
the last hundred years has been based on the assumption of 
classical economics that man is a creature who rationally 
pursues enlightened self-interest and interprets his interests 
solely in terms of goods and services. It is, for instance, always 
pointed out in defence of industrialism that it has raised the 
"standard of living* and no compunction is felt in defining the 
standard of living wholly in terms of goods and services. The 
disastrous reduction effected by industrialism in the standard 
of living, measured in real terms, was never assessed, or even 
recognised. Now suddenly comes a reaction from this benighted 
doctrine. Progress is no longer seen as economic progress. Status 
is no longer defined in terms of economic success. Rewards are 

1 See The End of Economic Man for a most suggestive discussion. 


Fascist Solution 

no longer distributed in simple economic form. In short, econ- 
omic considerations cease to be the constitutive motive. In 
the perspective of history the change can hardly fail to stand 
out as a turning point in the human story. 

It was, of course, not the first time that anyone has proposed 
non-economic standards of values. Christianity made just such 
a proposition offering salvation as a motive, and measuring 
success in terms of asceticism and humility. But the fascist 
proposal was no mere reaction, it offered a new code of values. 
Progress was to be defined in terms of national progress. Status 
was to depend on service to the state. In accordance with this 
conception, German newspapers ceased, after 1933, to describe 
millionaires as men who were 'successful.' Advertisements and 
films did not hold out a goal of material wealth. On the con- 
trary, as far as material goods went, the approved ideal was 
self-denial so as to spare more for the ends of the state : guns 
not butter. And along with the ideal of self-denial went the 
ideal of service. No kind of personal eminence, physical, 
intellectual, economic, military, social, mattered a jot unless it 
redounded to the power and glory of the state. 

By the same token, the central tenet of fascism led to a 
reaction from individualism. This we have already discussed 
under the heading of integration. Popular journalism has 
concentrated on German worship of force and ruthlessness, and 
has said little about their fostering self-denial and service, since 
these are in themselves rather admirable characteristics. But 
it is stupidity to suppose that any fascist regime, German or 
otherwise, in actual fact cultivates admiration for force as an 
end in itself y whatever it may say on the subject: it is force in 
the service of the state which it approves. The private 
individual who appropriates goods by force for his own ends 
is as severely treated as in a democracy. Some misuse of force 
is tolerated as an inevitable product of training in the use of 
force as in the case of the inevitable looting by soldiery in 
war-time. Now force turned to right uses is admirable no one 
has ever suggested one should admire weakness. Hence the 
worship of force is not, in itself, a crime. The evil aspect is 


Conditions of Happiness 

solely in the way force is used, and here we again come up 
against the central doctrine of fascism. If you believe that the 
state matters and the individual does not, force which aids the 
state at the cost of the individual is no crime. It is not on its 
anti-democratic nature, not on its aggressiveness, not on its 
foul persecutions that we must arraign fascism: these are 
secondary and derivative. It is on the central doctrine that 
conviction must be obtained. 

vin The German Mind 

So far we have considered reasons why the fascist system 
might appeal to anyone. Over and above all this, however, it 
offered a special appeal to persons at one end of the psychological 
scale, those who had established father-identifications. This, 
as we have seen, is the type which welcomes authority and 
which often gravitates towards the army or the church. Then 
again the readiness of fascism to use force against individuals 
offers an appeal to the sadistic type of individual, while its 
demand for self-sacrifice appeals to the obverse type, the 
masochist. Both patterns seem to result from the frustration 
of normal mastery drives. Thirdly, fascism can use fanatics, 
especially those who are trying to compensate for an over- 
whelming sense of inferiority by exerting power over others 
and by tearing down and humiliating those who have shown 
their superiority. 

Consequently^ fascism tends to gather round itself a praetorian 
guard of abnormal, even pathological, types. It is not difficult 
to see why fascism developed in its extremest in Germany. Over 
and above all the evils common to industrial states, Germany 
was split into scores of warring factions. People felt acutely 
the humiliation of the first World War. Unemployment and 
civil violence left everyone with a sense of insecurity. Fascism 
united the factions, restored security and charmed away the 

As Drucker has argued, the functioning society must provide 
the individual with function and status, its purposes must make 


Fascist Solution 

sense in terms of individual purpose, and its power must be 
legitimate. Thanks to the German sense of humiliation, fascist 
purposes did for a long time make sense in terms of individual 
purpose. Function and status it provided in abundant measure. 
Power was legitimate, as long as the Nazi leaders and the party 
were felt to be the most efficient people to perform the task of 
running the country. In the early days as Germany regained 
unity and prestige, and as unemployment diminished, the 
Nazis undoubtedly had widespread support. The existence of 
corruption, the rumours of barbaric cruelties, could not, of 
themselves, undermine this position. For the Nazis, even if 
imperfect, still seemed to the German the best available choice. 
To return to the weakness and shuffling of the Weimar days 
was unthinkable. A little corruption and cruelty was infinitely 
preferable. It was not until they began to lose the war that 
the Nazi leaders' power was seriously called in question. 

ix War and Happiness 

The appeal of fascism is, it will be seen, very much the appeal 
of war. 

War has very definite advantages to offer, and if it were not 
for the overwhelming disadvantage of destruction and loss of 
life, would form an almost perfect pattern of living. It is no 
accident therefore, that the life of peace-time depends so largely 
on small-scale wars with the risk and destruction removed, that 
is, on competitive teamwork. 

War gives admirable scope for mastery drives. It puts power- 
ful machinery in the hands of every soldier and thus endows 
him with a sense of power which contrasts sharply with his 
former frustration. It provides a wide variety of active jobs 
calling for skill and initiative. And while it provides numerous 
constructive outlets for those with organising and inventive 
ability, it provides a wealth of outlets for that cruder and more 
infantile form of mastery, destruction. For a civilisation in which 
the mastery drives of so many individuals has been arrested at a 
pre-adult level, this is almost too good to be hoped for. Bruno 


Conditions of Happiness 

Mussolini's celebrated remark about the joy of bomb-dropping 
was as revealing as it was indiscreet. 

Above all, the mastery outlets which war provides are 
subordinated to a purpose and no trumped-up little goal like 
winning the stewardship of a silver cup for twelve months, but 
one vitally important to the future of every individual concerned. 

In the emotional sphere war is less satisfactory, but even here 
it has certain solid assets. To begin with it provides a clearly- 
defined status system predominantly functional in type. The 
constant elimination of men as battle casualties ensures periodic 
promotion for all but the most unfortunate, and it must be 
remembered that whenever an officer is killed, this involves a 
promotion for someone in every one of the subordinate ranks : 
the death of a major makes possible the promotion of seven men. 
At the same time the men in each unit derive pleasure from the 
unit's prestige. This pleasure is with few exceptions much 
acuter than any corresponding satisfaction in the prestige of 
the firm in civilian life. 

The comradeship of the barrack-room, which is no figment 
of a sentimental imagination, offers a substitute for the com- 
radeship of the club and of marriage, and it is regrettably the 
case that it is sometimes found superior to the potentially 
closer ties of matrimony. The hierarchical arrangement of the 
services enables the individual to sink his identity in larger and 
larger units and brings home to him the relationship to the major 
unit of the nation. In support of this, war provides unlimited 
opportunities for service, as well as for egotism. 

Nor must it be overlooked that war provides unparalleled 
opportunities for sexual achievement. 

It is, perhaps, paradoxical that war provides a marked 
increase in security. In place of the responsibilities and risks of 
civilian life is substituted an existence in which every material 
need is provided for and all risk of this care ceasing vanishes. 
Status, too, is more secure, for downward promotion is almost 

It is in variety that war is perhaps weakest, but even here 
there are short-run gains. The mere fact of joining the army 


Fascist Solution 

at first provides a change from civilian routine. Overseas service 
promises a wide range of novel experiences. With every pro- 
motion and every new course, new fields of interest are opened 

up ' 

Last, but not least, war provides the most effective possible 

outlets for aggression. 1 

The foregoing remarks are made with the fighting man 
chiefly in mind. The civilian also finds new outlets for mastery 
and status, though admittedly on a milder scale. The unem- 
ployed man, if not called up, gets a job and an income. The 
labour shortage lends security to employment. The nation is 
integrated and a common purpose lends new meaning even to 
the habitual routine of production. Opportunities for service 
abound. It is only in the matter of variety that the civilian is 
wholly worse off than in peace. 

Small wonder then that many of those who escape personal 
loss or injury have a sneaking approval of war; and when time 
has obscured its drearier features look back with almost un- 
mixed pleasure to their days in blue or khaki. This is a dangerous 
factor. Until peace can offer a life at least as satisfying as war 
it will never mobilise unqualified support. 

x Danger of a Fascist Revival 

In thus interpreting fascism as a bid for happiness we endow 
it with a much broader base than is conceived by the stock 
communist and democratic evaluations of it. To the communist 
it is the last stage of feudal capitalism. This interpretation 
betrays a complete failure to understand the difference between 
fascism and common or garden dictatorship. It is true that a 
ruling class, faced with popular unrest, might resort to dictator- 
ship. It is true that in such an event they might use a programme 
of militaristic imperialism to justify their imposition of control. 
It is, in fact, true that German capitalists supported the Nazis 
in the belief that they could control their authoritarian machine, 

1 For a fuller account of the attractions of war, see, e.g. D. Harding, 
The Impulse to Dominate, 1941. 


Conditions of Happiness 

and because they concurred in their programme of strengthening 
Germany, and because they regarded Nazism as an insurance 
against communism. But this is not enough to justify the 
communist thesis. Its basic assumption is that Nazism is a 
dictatorship imposed by force on an unwilling proletariat: only 
thus can the picture be brought into line with marxist theories 
of history. But this assumption is demonstrably untrue. 

Of democratic interpretations there are broadly two. The 
first is that the Nazis were a group of 'gangsters' who seized 
power, thanks to the witlessness of the German people in 
general, and the Reichstag members in particular. The second 
is usually expressed in the form that 'there is little to choose 
between fascism and communism. 1 This I take to mean that 
both are attempts to achieve Utopia by crude and violent 
methods which defeat their own ends. This overlooks the very 
important fact that the fascist Utopia is wholly different from 
the communist Utopia so much so that democracy and com- 
munism are nearer to each other than they are to fascism. That 
is why each could fight fascism and find adequate ideological 
justification for so doing. 

Now if this view is correct, that fascism owes its power to the 
fact that it appears to offer a profounder satisfaction of psycho- 
logical needs than does democracy then it becomes clear that 
the defeat of the German has done nothing to 'put an end to 
fascism.' Fascism is not dead, but sleepeth. As long as democ- 
racy thwarts people and breeds unhappiness, so long will 
people turn to a system which appears to offer a way out. The 
ultimate blame for fascism rests on the democracies and in 
particular on the political and economic agreements after the 
first World War which made German democracy so abnormally 
frustrating and hopeless. Perhaps it is because they realise that 
it is they themselves who are ultimately guilty that some of our 
diplomats (and others) make such frenzied attempts to pin the 
whole blame on the Germans as if no other country but 
Germany were fascist ! Without question, the Germans made of 
fascism a filthier thing than any other country : nothing justifies 
their phenomenal cruelties and betrayals; a heavy load of guilt 


Fascist Solution 

and blame lies on them. But fascism and cruelty are not iden- 
tical. There have been other regimes in history as cruel but 
they were not fascist. And fascism would be a disaster, even if 
purged of cruelty. 

Yes, fascism is still an omnipresent danger. So far from 
putting an end to fascism, the military defeat of the Germans 
has probably given fascism a new lease of life. For defeat makes 
it possible for the short-sighted to argue that if only fascism 
had won, all would have been well. The miseries now being 
suffered are the result, not of fascism, but of failure to be fascist 
enough. Whereas if fascism had avoided war it would neces- 
sarily have perished from internal stresses, as its failure to 
provide a truly satisfying purpose became clear. 

How, then, can we prevent a re-emergence of fascism? It is 
not enough to remind people that the benefits of fascism are 
largely illusory, that in the end it leads to frustrations so serious 
as to negative its advantages; it is not enough to remind them 
that it is likely to lead to the final disaster of war. We must do 
something positive and constructive: we must show that 
democracy can achieve permanently what fascism achieves 
temporarily. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to teach 
such doctrine to others until we have proved it in our own case. 1 
As long as democracy fails to meet fundamental needs, fascism 
will remain an ever-present danger. 

The paradox on which fascism is founded is that people can 
find greater happiness in serving a cause, even if this ends in 

1 Herein was the weakness of our propaganda position during the 
war. We could slang the Nazi system as much as we liked, but this was 
of no effect unless we could show that our system was better at those 
very things which fascism excelled in : the creation of unity, purpose 
and status. Through failing to grasp the realities of the situation, our 
broadcast propaganda endlessly played into German hands. For 
instance, it made a point of reporting strikes, on the theory that this 
showed the German worker how free the British worker was. All it 
did was to fill him with contempt and determination that such a state 
of affairs, in which a minority could, for selfish reasons, endanger the 
state, should never recur in Germany. The B.B.C. even made the 
incredible error of broadcasting in German talks about the 'chaos of 
the post-war years*. 


Conditions of Happiness 

mutilitation or death, than in working for their selfish satis- 
factions. Now this is perfectly true. The real weakness of 
fascism is not that it makes great demands on the individual 
and propaganda which points to the greater comforts enjoyed 
by citizens of democratic countries merely reveals the petty, 
self-indulgent and materialistic nature of the ideals thus attri- 
buted, by implication, to democracy the real error of fascism 
is this : that it believes that to serve a cause is enough 
in itself. It fails to appreciate that this service must be con- 
sonant with and based on justice, liberty, variety, individuality, 
beauty and love. 



I Contradictory Pattern of Communism n Appeal of Communism 
in Status Under Communism iv Integration v Future of Commun- 
ism vi Communist Values vn The Real Danger vm Conclusion 

I Contradictory Pattern of Communism 

WHEN we say communism we inevitably think of Russia, and 
it is with Russian communism, as it exists in practice, not with 
some hypothetical method of organisation that I intend to deal 
in this chapter. 

As in the case of fascism, the significant thing about com- 
munism is not what is bad about it but what is good. So strong 
is opposition to communism today, at least in the United States, 
that many Americans would not hesitate to tell you that there 
is nothing good about it. This is an extremely foolish and naive 
attitude. If there were nothing apparently good about commun- 
ism, there would be nothing dangerous about it. The Russian 
people would not tolerate it, and even support it as they do, 
and the peoples of many other countries would not flirt with it. 
It is precisely its superficial good points which make it dangerous 
and until we understand what those points are, and why they 
are not really satisfactory answers to our present problems, 
we cannot hope to resist its advance effectively on the world scale. 

Perhaps I should apologise for undertaking to analyse a 
society which I have never visited. But Russia is so vast and 
various that a short acquaintance is worse than none at all or 
so we are assured; and this book would be seriously incomplete 
if we made no attempt to apply the technique here developed 
to a country which occupies such a crucial position in the con- 
temporary world picture. And in the event I believe it illumin- 
ates much that appears obscure about Russia today. 


Conditions of Happiness 

Every student of Russia is warned against the danger of 
making generalisations about this vast and puzzling country. 
Nevertheless, certain generalisations can be made provided we 
approach the subject the right way. First, we must relate our 
generalisations to the fact that Russia is in a state of rapid 
change, from primitive agriculture to advanced industrialism. 
Now, while the many primitive communities within the 
U.S.S.R. differ widely both psychologically and sociologically, 
the end-point to which they are all converging is the same: 
the typical pattern of western industrialism which we have 
already examined. Even though the economic organisation is 
different, the 'way of life* towards which Russia is tending is 
indistinguishable from that of the west. It is a pattern which 
. gives absolute priority to material satisfactions and makes man 
subservient to the process of production. 

Communism is often thoughtlessly presented as the opposite 
pole from capitalism, but the truth is that, in every respect 
except that of economic method, communism is based on the 
same premises as capitalism. And, from the point of view of 
happiness, the economic aspect is of minor importance. 

Once we recognise this converging tendency, this uniformity 
of trend in Russian development, we can make generalisations 
about Russia which will not be invalidated by the fact that 
various parts of the system are more or less distantly removed 
from the end-point and have sprung from differing origins. 

The second polarising force in the Russian continuum is less 
obvious; it has to do with the tendency, which we discussed 
earlier, of societies to fall into patriform or matriform patterns. 
Now communism as a theory is essentially the product of the 
matriform mind the benevolent, co-operative, progressive 
mind. It is conceived as a system which will make people happier 
which will like a mother supply them with the means of life, 
and in which all will co-operate gladly for the common good. 
We can also trace the matriform origins of communism in its 
rejection of the guilt-loaded sky-father religion and its prefer- 
ence for a belief in a happy and spontaneous naturalism; or in 
its desire to take the woman from her lowly position by 


Communist Solution 

the hearth and make her the equal, if not the superior, of 

But the predominant attitude in Russia in urbanised cis- 
Ural Russia at all events is patriform. We can detect this in 
the prevalence of a deeply orthodox religious feeling of the 
usual sky-father type; or in the conception of the Czar, and 
later Stalin, as 'the Little Father.' The stubborn opposition of 
the agricultural population to collectivism was also typical of 
the patriform attitude although this is not to say that some of 
the obscurer provinces are not matriform. Even if the popula- 
tion is not uniformly patriform, there can be little doubt that 
the Russian leaders are patriform and authoritarian to the last 
extreme. From the fall of the Kerensky government onward, 
the movement got wholly into the hands of the aggressive, 
authoritarian type. As usual, matrists made the revolution, but 
patrists wound up on top. 

This explains why the Russian system has undergone a steady 
conversion from its original equalitarian, libertarian, progres- 
sive ideals to an authoritarian, disciplinarian, conservative 
pattern. But the authoritarians, having only a muddled and 
degraded conception of the original objective, still carefully 
preserve the institutions they have been taught to regard as 
constitutive that is, the economic institutions while blithely 
changing everything else. It is this that constitutes the funda- 
mental contradiction which makes nonsense of so many 
generalisations about Russia. 

It is this fact, too, which accounts for the difficulty of defining 
communism. For, whereas fascism embodies a coherent 
philosophy, communism (Russian communism) is little but a 
dogma about a means. The declared objective of communism 
is social justice but then that is the declared objective of many 
systems. The distinctive feature of communism is that it main- 
tains that social justice can only be achieved by public ownership 
of the means of production, distribution and exchange. 

Finally, this enables us to assess the oft-repeated charge that 
the Russians are abandoning communism. In the sense in which 
it is ordinarily meant, this is sheer nonsense. The Russians 


Conditions of Happiness 

are not abandoning public ownership of the means of produc- 
tion and are not likely to. In the remoter sense of a system of 
freedom and equality, the Russians are not abandoning com- 
munism because they never had it. 

ii Appeal of Communism 

The circumstances in which communism made its appeal are 
of course historically different from those in which fascism 
operated; psychologically, however, they are much the same. 
Where fascism presented an alternative to the frustrations of 
modern industrialism, communism appeared as an alternative 
to a corrupt feudalism. Under the Czar the average Russian 
or rather, the type of Russian who played an active part in the 
establishment of communism, which is to say the serfs and 
industrial workers west of the Urals was acutely frustrated 
in respect of purpose, mastery, security, variety and status. 
Physically he was at the mercy of his feudal lord and agricul- 
turally he was at the mercy of drought and famine. The rigid 
status system deprived him of any hope of improving his 
position, the obsolete system of land tenure not only depressed 
his standard of living, but limited him to the most arduous and 
brutish kind of physical labour. Life offered no inspiring 
purpose : often it was all he could do to keep alive. 

Accordingly, in considering the appeal of communism, we 
must judge it by two standards how it compared with life 
under the Czar and how it compares with life in an industrial 
democracy. The first will tell us why the communists came to 
power, the second whether communism offers any solution for 
our own contemporary problems. 

There can be no doubt that by the first of these standards 
communism offered overwhelming advantages. It presented the 
majority of Russians with enormously enhanced security, an 
absorbing purpose, a predominantly functional status system, 
and far greater consistency and variety than they had previously 
enjoyed to say nothing of a higher standard of living. It also 
offered unique opportunities for service. It is absurd to contrast 


Communist Solution 

the Russian way of life with that of England or America, and 
pity the Russian because he is less free, and less wealthy, or 
because great differences of rank exist. All this is true, but what 
matters to the Russian is that he is much more secure, much 
freer, much wealthier than fifty years ago. The present differ- 
ences of rank, great as they are, are trifling compared with the 
difference between the overlord and serf; moreover, the pros- 
pect of attaining high rank is now open to all. Just like the rich 
man in America, the privileged man in Russia is an object of 
envy and admiration rather than of resentment. And in addition 
to all this, the Russian has something he never had under the 
Czars, a purpose. 

At the same time he suffers, as yet, from few of the disad- 
vantages of industrialism. Overcrowding, noise, misfeeding, 
strain, have not yet had time to undermine his physique; the 
obligations of civilised life have not yet corrupted his basic 
personality structure ; no detritus of obsolete mores and taboos 
exists to clog the social system. All in all, is it probably true to 
say that up to 1939 the Russians were the happiest people west 
of the Urals. 

Nevertheless, their happiness was not unalloyed. In the 
excitement of the great improvement in their affairs they were 
in no mind to quibble over minor imperfections, but these 
minor imperfections may prove all-important in the long run. 
Let us therefore examine some of the factors in communist 
happiness a little more closely, in order that we can subse- 
quently assess its potential appeal to the industrial west. I shall 
start with the particularly significant matter of status. 

in Status under Communism 

The interesting thing about the Soviet status system is that 
it corresponds much more closely to the theoretical ideal, as 
we have argued it, than it does to the ideal embodied in com- 
munist doctrine. We asserted that status must grow naturally 
out of function: everyone must have a function and their 
status must depend on a free public evaluation of the way in 
C.H. 15 217 

Conditions of Happiness 

which they fulfil that function. Now communism has unques- 
tionably succeeded in giving everyone a function. No one 
remains idle (not even the criminal) and no one wastes time 
in fatuous trivialities. Every citizen is made aware of the part 
he is asked to play in the purposes of the group. And status 
is certainly based on that function. It is the stakhanovite worker, 
the fanatical party member and the ballerina who delights tens 
of thousands who enjoy the highest status in Russia, with the 
supreme position going naturally enough to those who direct 
the purposes of the group. 

Such status is mobile, but at present enjoys the great advan- 
tage that it is chiefly mobile in an upward direction even more 
so than in America. All over Russia untrained manual labourers 
are becoming technicians and adding to their self-respect and 
to their public status as they do so. Any worker, if he has what 
it takes, can become a stakhanovite ; he can even aspire to be a 
party member. It is true that there are certain alarming snakes 
among the ladders. The party has its purges, the factory manager 
who fails may be liquidated/ those who arouse the suspicions 
of the NKVD are transported in a flash to Square One, Siberia. 
But these measures, though brutal, effectively preserve the 
functional nature of status. They ensure that no one retains the 
appurtenances of status after he has ceased to deserve them. 

The Russian status system can only be criticised at a very 
subtle level of discrimination. Though it is essentially func- 
tional, the concept of functionalism (we might object) is con- 
ceived too mych in economic and materialistic terms. The 
Russian system is functional as long as we accept the purpose 
of the state as a satisfying purpose. But if we choose to challenge 
the purpose of the state we raise very broad issues and lift the 
whole argument on to the plane of sociology. Provided the 
purpose of the state effectively embodies the purpose of its 
constituent citizens, it will appear to them as functional and 
status derived from it will be functional status. On this basis 
we cannot even object if the state seeks to make the citizen 
concur in the purpose of the state, for this will add to his 
happiness. We can only challenge this conception if we feel 


Communist Solution 

able to adduce absolute standards by which purpose can be 
assessed, so that even a generally accepted purpose can never- 
theless be shown to be wrong. This general issue cannot be 
discussed as a pendent to the subject of status but requires a 
section to itself. Provisionally, therefore, we must think of the 
Soviet status system as functional. 

How does orthodox marxist teaching compare with all this ? 
Marx notes the injustices of a rigid, non-mobile system of 
hereditary classes and proceeds to the conclusion that Utopia 
will be a 'classless society.' His followers speedily read into this 
phrase the meaning that 'everyone will be equal/ and started 
an argument which continues to this day. But what is a class ? 
Marx's basic objection to the so-called class system is, that 
members of the class acquire the privileges of the class wholly 
or partly by virtue of birth and not wholly by merit. That is, 
he objects to the status conferred being non-functional. His 
second objection, more dimly perceived, is that the status of 
classes is arranged in the form of an economic ladder. Those at 
the top receive not only more respect but more goods than those 
below them. In fact, so important have goods become that' they 
have ceased to become a mere privilege of high status but have 
come to be the hallmark of it. So much so that goods actually 
confer status on persons who would otherwise have little claim 
to public respect. 

The logical conclusion should therefore be that in Utopia 
status must not be, directly or indirectly, hereditary and that 
it must not depend on the endowment of goods. In Russia this 
is actually the case. A person of high status may be given a 
high salary or privileges as a mark of respect but never 
acquires status by the simple virtue of having managed to 
acquire goods. Goods are quite incidental; respect is all. But to 
the short-sighted and materialistic person goods are paramount. 
Hence the popular view that in Utopia incomes must be equal, 
and the popular error of believing that because Russian 
incomes are not equal the classless society has not been realised. 

The trouble is the phrase 'classless society* is too ambiguous. 
It suggests a society in which there will be no division of people 

Conditions of Happiness 

into groups by any standards. This is a human impossibility. 
There will always be the strong and the weak, the stupid and 
the intelligent, the kind and the cruel, and many more cate- 
gories. The only sense in which we have any say about class- 
lessness, is in the distribution of privileges, The object of the 
reformer is to distribute them according to some logical principle 
(according to merit or according to needs) and not haphazardly. 
An equal distribution would be almost as unjust as a haphazard 

iv Integration 

Communism's other great achievement is the creation and 
maintenance of a functioning society. What enables it to achieve 
this is ready availability of a purpose which was generally 
acceptable rapid industrialisation. Thanks to this the purposes 
of the state make sense in terms of individual purpose and the 
power of the leaders is legitimised. Cohesion is thereby ensured 
and the individual provided with the purpose I almost wrote 
religion which sustains and vitalises his life. 

But it will be appreciated that industrialisation offers no final 
solution of the problem. Before long it will have been so far 
achieved that the Russians must look for some higher purpose, 
precisely as are the democracies at the moment. Moreover, the 
Russians have little understanding of the real nature of social 
cohesion, and here as elsewhere are banking on the accumulated 
credit of a long history of primitive, unindustrialised social 
organisation. Their strength is that, unlike industrial capitalism, 
they emphasise the social weal rather than individual goals and 
thus avoid the error of fostering the egotism which is at the root 
of social disintegration. 

v Future of Communism 

When, furthermore, we look more closely at the advantages 
brought by communism we begin to notice that many of them 
are not inherent in communism as such but are rather products 


Communist Solution 

of the process of industrialisation. When the peasant gains in 
mastery by abandoning the hand-plough and driving a tractor, 
that is a simple consequence of industrialisation : he would gain 
in just the same way under a capitalist administration. When a 
higher national income gives him facilities to travel, or brings 
him the cinema and the radio, that is also primarily due to 

Communism can claim some credit in the matter on two 
scores: first because it undoubtedly brought industrialisation to 
Russia much more rapidly than would have occurred under the 
Czar, and perhaps more rapidly than under any other alternative 
regime which might have replaced him; and second, because 
it affected a redistribution of income and a breaking of feudal 
bonds which enabled the peasant to take the maximum advan- 
tage of the rise in the national income. A communist economy 
is not under the paradoxical need to export which I analysed 
in an earlier book. 1 But though it is true that communism 
effected in five years a social transformation that took a century 
or more in Britain, that does not give it exclusive rights in the 
benefits of industrialisation. Having achieved the transforma- 
tion, why should communism not step down, its work done? 
that is the rhetorical question we may ask to induce it to 
justify its existence. 

The fact is, communism provides no true solution to the 
characteristic problems of an industrial civilisation. It cannot 
re-educate our emotions. It cannot provide mastery, variety, 
or purpose; it cannot restore cohesion. On the contrary, it is, 
if anything, slightly worse off in these respects. It has put all 
its eggs in the one basket of material production and has left 
even fewer backwaters for the exercise of mastery, even fewer 
alternatives for the manufacture of variety, even fewer beliefs 
or illusions from which a purpose might be derived. And it 
restricts personal freedom besides. 

In a formal sense, perhaps, communism can do all these things. 
Because it is not tied down by considerations of profit it is free 
to modify the industrial system as it will, even to deindustrialise 
1 Economics for the Exasperated, 1947. 

Conditions of Happiness 

again. In theory it provides the pre-conditions for such a 
renaissance. What it lacks is the philosophy which would 
enable it to tackle such a problem, the insight which would 
enable it to detect its existence and the appropriate basic 
personality to execute the solution. 

Summing up, then, we see that the communists are tempor- 
arily in an abnormally fortunate position. 

The course of industrialism follows a curve which rises at 
first and then falls back. In its early stages it enjoys a great 
legacy of cohesion, of effective institutions and well-integrated 
basic personalities. On this legacy it lives while it adds goods 
and services to life and for a while only benefits seem to result. 
But as time passes the goods it supplies suffer from the law of 
diminishing satisfactions and meanwhile the social legacy is 
running out, so that suddenly numerous disadvantages develop 
while its advantages vanish into thin air. 

Russia is still living on the rising part of the curve. For the 
moment it is enjoying all the benefits of industrialisation and 
none of the costs. The essential question is, has communism 
developed institutions and values which will prevent the 
ultimate debacle ? There is not the slightest reason for believing 
that it has. On the contrary, the later stages of industrialisation 
under communism may be slightly drearier than in the democ- 
racies. In a highly industrialised country the Russian will suffer 
as much from lack of variety and mastery. The customs 
governing the basic personality are just as likely to be evilly 
affected. The web of customs and taboos which hold society 
together will have been torn down even more drastically than 
with us. Status might, indeed, remain functional 1 though 
reports from Russia suggest that is, in point of fact, becoming 
less so. Most serious of all, there will be a serious decay of 
purpose. When industrialisation has been achieved it will no 

1 Indeed, it might even become free of the popular objection that 
goods are unequally distributed, for as the national income rises there 
will be decreasing need to bestow special privileges on the most 
important public benefactors and such privileges will differ by an ever 
smaller margin from the normal standard of living. 


Communist Solution 

longer serve to inspire loyalty and unity, so that with the decay 
of purpose will go a decay of cohesion. At the same time power 
will cease to be legitimate, for the purpose of the group will 
cease to make sense in terms of individual purposes. 

If the Russian leaders are people of exceptional elasticity 
of mind they may be able to change over to the pursuit of 
happiness but this implies abandoning all the techniques of 
mass leadership and all the ideological background which they 
have so long proclaimed and which will by this time have 
attained the force of a sacred tradition. In fact, the system will 
cease to be communism, as we at present use the word. Such a 
change is so unlikely of achievement that they are almost 
certain to do one of three things: revert to dictatorship, turn 
to fascism, or fall back on the old favourite, war. 

It has often been said that no more difficult scene for the 
communist experiment could have been found than Russia 
on the grounds that the backward nature of the population 
put great difficulties in the way of industrialisation. In truth, 
however, Russia was in an exceptionally favourable position 
for such an experiment. 

To begin with, as we have said, Russians were so phenomen- 
ally badly off under the Czar that almost any change was bound 
to be a change for the better. 

Secondly, because Russia is so largely unindustrialised the 
disadvantages of industrialism have scarce begun to appear, 
while the advantages of a larger supply of material goods are 
overwhelming. Industrialisation therefore provided the Russian 
leaders with a widely acceptable purpose which could be 
represented, and truthfully represented, as a road to greater 
happiness. 1 

Thirdly, the Russian basic personality is still largely 

1 It is an ironical reflection that the war, which so many opponents 
of Russia wanted to see prolonged until she was irretrievably weakened, 
has actually provided communism with a longer lease of life, by post- 
poning the day when a new purpose must be found. And it is equally 
ironical that the Communist leaders are desperately trying to undo the 
effects of this stroke of good fortune. 


Conditions of Happiness 

unwarped by industrialism. The middle-class characters, guilty 
and frustrated, portrayed by Dostoievski and others, are not 
typical of the mass of the Russians. The Russian personality is 
generally cheerful, guiltless and unaggressive. 1 Such people are 
easily led, and having firmly-integrated personalities free from 
the spiritual sources of unhappiness anxiety, guilt and frus- 
tration are more easily able to endure primitive physical 
hardships and the absence of the more elaborate forms of self- 

Finally, the Russian leaders had the benefit of working with 
a society which enjoyed immense reserves of social cohesion. 
The age-old systems of institutions and taboos still ensured the 
survival of society as a functioning organism through all the 
vicissitudes of the revolution and the clumsy surgery of the 
period of reconstruction. 

Lenin believed that communism was dependent upon indus- 
trialisation. He could not have been more mistaken. The truth 
is, communism can be made to work in Russia only because it 
is not industrialised. 

vi Communist Values 

The faults of communism can be traced to its system of 
values and it is probably best to approach the subject from this 

The outstanding mistake of communism is to overvalue 
material thipgs and undervalue psychological needs. People are 
apt to forget that the one implies the other; they criticise 
communism for its preoccupation with materialism but attach 
no importance to its deliberate neglect of emotional factors. 
It was typical of the communist approach that they should 
have planned to take children away from the degrading 
influence* of their parents and bring them up in institutions. 
Indeed, they not only planned this but tried it, and needless to 
say it was a resounding failure. What pathetic ignorance ! This 
tendency to treat man as a machine is as evident in the work 
1 See, for instance, E. Bigland, Laughing Odyssey, 1939. 

Communist Solution 

of Pavlov as in the stories of Gogol and forms the basis of the 
materialist conception of history. 

Accordingly, communist teaching does not stress the impor- 
tance of the love relationship and attempts to treat marriage and 
parenthood as purely economic associations. Thus, so far from 
providing new institutions in which emotional relationships 
may be advanced, it works to undermine existing ones. It is 
true that, in the light of sad experience, it has been forced to 
retreat somewhat from its theoretical ideals but it has not 
shifted its ground of principle. 

What is so odd is that communists fail to appreciate the 
fundamental contradiction in their attitude. They believe they 
are trying to operate a system which will bring good to all men : 
thus their own attitude to other people is a non-economic one. 
It is motivated by universal goodwill. And yet they deny for 
others the reality of such emotional motives and would have 
it that they are economic integers. 

This contradiction runs through the communist value 
system. Communism sets out with immense determination to 
raise the level of education and then finds it has to restrict 
freedom of thought. It would deeply like to have a rich and 
flourishing art but it has to bring pressure to bear on its 
artists that restricts their achievements to the level of talented 

Now, as we have already seen, a contradictory value system 
is an unfailing source of neurosis. No artist can survive in a 
regime which limits his freedom to work as he feels. No scientist 
can endure a dogma which tells him, on a priori grounds, that 
what he has discovered must be wrong when he knows it to be 
true. Truth remains truth, however it be denied. Only fanatics 
that is, neurotics can convince themselves that black is 

vii The Real Danger 

The relationship of communism to happiness is complicated 
in practice by a further novel factor. The Russian policy of 


Conditions of Happiness 

educating people to approve of communism while eliminating 
all who prove recalcitrant amounts to an attempt to fit the 
people to the system rather than the system to the people. The 
policy was started, no doubt, in the genuine belief that only 
those with a vested interest in the old regime would have to be 
eliminated, but as it continues it is bound to result in eliminating 
not merely those who from traditionalism or base self-interest 
oppose communism but equally those who, having sincerely 
tried it, find it does not suit them. The authorities have 
committed themselves irretrievably to the attempt to attain 
happiness by the device of public ownership ; what is more, they 
have come to have a vested interest in the attempt. No longer 
revolutionaries, they are conservatives. If they find their regime 
unpopular they will be irresistibly tempted to try and make 
the people like what they have got. 

For the purposes of this book it is not necessary to discuss 
the ethics of such an attempt, which are less straightforward 
than they look, since even the most democratic regimes indulge 
in the same practice to a certain degree. All that matters is 
whether such an attempt would, if successful, be conducive to 
happiness. If it is truly possible to make people unreservedly 
like what they have got, this may be a much simpler course 
than changing the system. As long as people are happy in the 
end, what matters the means ? 

The answer is that determined attempts to secure acquies- 
cence in a regime are always likely to prove successful. As 
anthropology ^shows, people who know no other way of life, 
acquiesce without hesitation or questioning in regimes which 
are far from perfect. And not only acquiescence may be obtained 
but even fanatical support, if the individual can be made to 
identify the success of the regime with his personal drives. Thus, 
the real danger is not that people may be unhappy under 
communism but that they may be too nearly happy. 

Popular support is never a proof that a regime is satisfac- 
torily designed. This is just as true of democracy, where 
popular support is given to a programme of industrialism 
which, in reality, is undermining happiness all the time. Only 


Communist Solution 

those who understand the nature of happiness are in a position 
to appraise the success of a society or the desirability of a regime. 
However, in a society which places no barriers on free thought 
there is some likelihood that the underlying failure of an 
unhappy society will be pointed out, whereas any society which 
seeks to regiment thought will tend to continue in its error. 
And freedom of thought is in any case a condition of happiness. 
Hence, regulation of opinion is incompatible with the purposes 
of a society seeking happiness. 

As long as it eliminates those who do not like the system it 
becomes an attempt to provide not happiness for all but 
happiness for those who like the particular approximation in 
stock. The objective of social justice is not attained. 

vin Conclusion 

In conclusion let me reiterate my original point. Communism 
is based on the same false premises as capitalism. Marx's Das 
Kapital is limited in precisely the same sense that Adam Smith's 
Wealth of Nations is limited. Both deal with that fictive entity, 
economic man. Both make the gross mistake of conceiving 
social justice (sciL happiness) in materialist terms. 

To Marx social justice was pre-eminently the fair distribu- 
tion of goods and services. He could not conceive the proletariat 
as revolting because industrialism had made them profoundly 
unhappy but only because it had deprived them of their due 
share of the goods produced. Marx can scarcely be blamed for 
his limited vision. He wrote at a time when materialism was 
at its zenith, and at a time when poverty was so acute that to 
attack the forces producing it was a sufficient life's work. The 
trouble is that his writings have been invested with such 
sanctity that today, eighty years later, when the perspective 
has changed, they are still treated as gospel. 

Because the communist analysis of unhappiness is hopelessly 
defective, the means proposed to remedy it are laughably 
insufficient. Even if public ownership could be proved to be 
the most efficient means of production this would still not prove 


Conditions of Happiness 

its desirability. All the dreary arguments about the relative 
merits of private and public ownership are an abortive waste 
of time. In this respect dommunism is the reverse of fascism ; 
for where fascism seeks a bad end by a comparatively efficient 
means, communism seeks a good end by a quite inadequate one. 

The communist analysis of happiness is defective because it 
has not had the elasticity or the imagination to modify its 
philosophy in the light of the teachings of psychology and 
sociology as they became available. 

Hence all its mistakes. Its ignorance of sociology led it to 
such lamentable errors as the attempt to break up the family 
and the institution of marriage, its scorn for tradition and taboo, 
its attempt to annihilate religion, and its pursuit of the mirage 
of the classless society. Its ignorance of psychology led it to the 
belief that men would become perfect if only the environment 
were perfect. 

Ingenious and stimulating when first formulated, it has failed 
to evolve and having got into the hands of patrists it is never 
likely to. It can only do one of two things : regress to simple 
dictatorship or follow the kiwi and the dodo. 


Part Three 



I Reconstructing Society n Population Density m Remechanisation 
iv A Paraprimitive Society v Changing Human Nature vi Econo- 
mics of Decentralisation vn Consistency or Variety ? vm Nature of 
Man ix Security or Self-Determination ? x The Problem of Purpose 

I Reconstructing Society 

1 HAVE attempted to interpret the ills of contemporary society 
in terms of the frustration of human needs and have suggested 
that fascism and communism have proved attractive, at least, 
in the short run, because they seem to offer a greater degree of 
satisfaction of these needs. The task which remains is to suggest 
some constructive alternative : to draw from this analysis some 
ideas about the ideal way to organise society and to deduce steps 
which might carry us towards it. 

And certain conclusions do seem to me to emerge very 
clearly. The first is that man cannot hope to satisfy his basic 
needs in the crowded environment of the modern city. For one 
thing he needs space and quiet. He needs scope for physical 
activity: and not merely scope which would be satisfied by 
parks and sports grounds but a manner of life which makes a 
good deal of physical activity purposeful and rewarding. He 
needs, too, a calmer rhythm of life. But there is a second group 
of objections to the city: it is a poor psychological environment. 
As we have seen, it does not favour the growth of closely-knit 
groups bound by emotional links derived from shared experi- 
ence. It is devoid, too, of those social sanctions which do so 
much to preserve cohesion and ensure co-operative behaviour. 

Man seems to need membership in a fairly clearly defined 
social group of such a size that he can know every member by 
sight and recognise a high proportion as people. (By this phrase 


Sociology of Happiness 

I am trying to refer to a nameless but essential process which 
consists in forming an estimate of another person's significance 
in relation to oneself, and vice versa.) So I infer that the main 
structural element in an integrated society would be a social 
group of a few thousand people. 

Such communities would have to be interlocked, primarily 
through members of one having a proportion of their friends 
in others. There would also be numerous functional organisa- 
tions which would cover the territory of several communities 
and these would, if properly designed, serve to weld them 
together. While the proper design of such groupings is a matter 
for study (and has recently come to receive a certain amount of 
attention in the industrial field) it can be said that they should 
certainly not be pyramided in a hierarchical manner culminating 
in a central executive. A few threads may lead to the centre, but 
the weight of authority must be local and co-operation with 
other groups must be carried out on a person-to-person basis. 1 
Equally, the ambit of such groups must not be sharply limited 
by national boundaries. 

I stress this decentralisation of control because man needs 
the power of self-determination. Aldous Huxley has well 
phrased man's political needs as 'personal independence and 
responsibility towards and within a self-governing group.' 2 

In short, we seem to need a cohesive local group, both for 
emotional and political reasons; and we need a quasi-rural 
environment. All this seems to point to a dispersal of population 
through the re-establishment of the village, rather than through 
the provision of isolated country cottages or to skyscrapers set 
among parklands on the Corbusier pattern. However, the needs 
of cultural and economic life would seem to suggest that villages 
should be diversified by small towns Clough Williams-Ellis 
has suggested 50,000 as the most suitable size. 

1 A glimpse of what can be done in this way was given by the army 
during the war. Though constitutionally given to the formation of 
hierarchies, it often achieved great functional co-operation between 
units in the field, under the pressure of necessity. 

* Science, Liberty and Peace, 1947. 


Conditions of Happiness 

This seems remarkably near the pattern of pre-industrial 
Britain, but we must not, of course, envisage the change simply 
in terms of a return to the past. The village was, and is, often 
the scene of intense jealousies, ignorance, narrow-mindedness, 
sexual repression (alternating with promiscuity or perversion) 
and other evils. I am speaking for the moment of the physical 
rather than the emotional or cultural structure. 1 

As soon as we begin to envisage a dispersal of population 
on these lines, we at once have to consider the question of the 
overall size of the population in relation to the available land 
area. In a word, population density. If the population of 
London were dispersed over England the countryside would 
become one vast suburbia. 

ii Population Density 

It is now becoming widely accepted that, for any given piece 
of land, there is a theoretically optimum population. 2 If the 
population is less than the optimum, transport charges are 
likely to be high, the population has to carry an unduly large 
load in maintaining fixed equipment such as roads, and in 
human terms it suffers from isolation. On the other hand, if the 
population is too dense people begin to get in one another's 
way; traffic becomes obstructed; money, time and effort has 
to be spent getting people to and from work; and a considerable 
apparatus of control is required to prevent neighbours infring- 
ing one another's rights. 3 

1 It would also be unduly optimistic, I think, to see in the present 
plan to establish new towns outside the main London area, any real 
progress in the direction indicated. This plan is being carried through 
chiefly in an attempt to relieve the gross congestion of the capital, 
rather than as part of a constructive attempt to remodel the environ- 
ment. It still leaves London as one of the most densely packed assem- 
blies of human beings in the world, and the new towns themselves 
are too large for cohesion and will certainly undermine the rural life 
of their neighbourhood. 

* P. Sargant-Florence, Over-population > Theory and Statistics, 1926. 

1 See Roy Glenday, The Future of Economic Society , 1944. 


Sociology of Happiness 

The concept remains a theoretical one partly because we do 
not know in what terms to measure it, partly because it is 
affected by the way population is distributed within the area. 
But that does not make it wholly useless. Even if we cannot 
calculate the optimum, we can at least recognise serious under- 
and over-population when we see it. In Britain, while much of 
the Highlands is under-populated, there is gross over-population 
in central and southern England. It has been tentatively 
suggested that fifty persons per square mile (which is a little 
more than the figure in the U.S.A. today) is about right. In 
Elizabethan England the figure was about seventy per square 
mile, and for contemporary England and Wales the figure is 
727 per square mile a higher figure than for any area of 
comparable size except Java. But these figures give us little 
clue to the real situation since much of Wales, the Pennines 
and the Lake and Border country is almost uninhabited. It is 
more to the point that one-sixth of the population lives in the 
four home counties at a density of almost 3,000 per square mile, 
and a rough calculation shows that over half the population of 
England and Wales lives in fourteen counties at an average 
density of 1,700 per square mile. 

This astounding change has come about not simply in conse- 
quence of a drift to the capital but also because populations have 
been allowed to grow to the limit set by the food which could 
be grown or imported. That they have now virtually ceased to 
grow is probably, as Glenday argues, a direct consequence of 
the overcrowding, as happens with animal communities. In the 
future, with increased powers of production and improved 
techniques of transport and control, Britain still more 
America could doubtless support even denser populations if 
it were thought desirable. But can it be doubted that it will 
limit populations to a much lower figure a figure which will 
make access to country and to solitude available to everyone? 
Not only this, it will hardly force people to live in the rainy and 
foggy areas of its domain. It will seek to establish an optimum 
ratio of population to favourable environments, rather than 
to its total land area. In fact, we may imagine that people will 
C.H.-I6 233 

Conditions of Happiness 

drift away from the colder and less hospitable areas altogether, 
and confine themselves to the shores of the Mediterranean, 
California and the isles of the Pacific. 

in Remechanisation 

The second broad principle which seems to emerge is that we 
should be prepared to sacrifice a considerable part of modern 
mass-production technique. If work on the production line is 
frustrating, we must if happiness is our object keep it to 
the minimum. And this applies to other things beside the 
production line. If, for instance, work underground is judged 
too dangerous or unpleasant, we should try and get our power 
in other forms, even if they are technically less efficient. For 
lack of a better word, let us call this kind of change demechan- 
isation, though by it I do not imply that power will not be used, 
so much as that work will be less repetitive and automatic. 
Both demechanisation and remechanisation are needed. Nor 
is it only a matter of removing the isolation and repetitiveness 
from work. We must seek to make work actively interesting by 
re-endowing it with creative elements. 

The change implied here is basically a change of attitude. In 
the past we have assumed happiness came only through con- 
sumption of goods and services; hence we have felt that every 
technique which increased the output of goods and services 
was justified, however great the cost. In the future we must argue 
as follows. Happiness is a function of living. Half our waking 
adult life is spent at work. Therefore work must be made as 
absorbing as possible. 

These two views represent extreme positions, of course. 
Just as we have always protected the worker from certain crass 
forms of exploitation, no doubt we shall always be prepared to 
make certain sacrifices in the interests of efficiency in the future ; 
and the growth of the limitations on exploitation of the worker 
in recent years indicates the steady change in our attitude. This 
change will have to go much further than we imagine. 

Nevertheless, the suggestion that we should demechanise 


Sociology of Happiness 

industry will seem to many so radical that we must examine it 
more closely. We agreed, earlier, that the main features of an 
interesting job were that it should provide scope for initiative 
and skill, that it should not be monotonous, and that the 
individual or the work-team should carry the whole process 
through from start to finish. To be exact, it is not mechanisation 
but automatisation and subdivision which have made many 
modern factory jobs dull. Studies made during the war in the 
U.S.A. suggest that work can be so arranged that the same 
individual or team works on the product right through from 
raw material to the finished article. No doubt, if we seriously 
turn our attention to it, we can find other ways in which interest 
can be restored without any sacrifice of efficiency. 

But I am suggesting something more than this. I am suggest- 
ing that we must be prepared to sacrifice productive efficiency, 
too. I am suggesting that a certain fall in the standard of living 
as measured in goods would be more than compensated in terms 
of happiness by the increased pleasure of making them. Only 
if this point is quite clearly established, am I ready to go on and 
say that, for several reasons the fall in the material standard of 
living need only be slight. First, as discussed in our earlier 
chapter, a considerable part of modern production is marginal, 
in the sense that people's desire for the goods is very slight in 
comparison with the effort expended in making them. Many 
people buy precision cameras whose needs would be amply 
served by a simple inexpensive model. This is like giving an old 
lady a racing Bugatti or drawing a milk-cart w r ith an Arab mare. 
The motives are, no doubt, connected with prestige and self- 
flattery: and by the same token we find much conspicuously 
wasteful -expenditure in many other fields. Some people have 
far more clothes, larger houses and more numerous cars than 
they need. And, like the millionaire's yacht, representing many 
thousands of man-hours of labour, they lie unused a great part 
of the time. 

All these marginal goods could be dispensed with and the 
labour, which at present goes to make them, devoted to more 
important activities. Given this extra labour, these industries 


Conditions of Happiness 

could then decrease their degree of mechanisation while main- 
taining the same total output. (Let us take the economics of 
such a change for granted at the moment.) 

The second reason for supposing the ultimate loss to be small 
is that there are extraordinary inefficiencies in production and 
distribution in modern society: the U.S. dustbowl may stand 
as a symbol of them. With the reconstruction of the economic 
side of society (to which I am about to refer) many of these 
should disappear. Not least of them is the wastage due to war. 

And should we, as suggested in a later section, succeed in 
re-establishing society on a co-operative rather than a competitive 
basis, it would become possible to eliminate the vast apparatus 
of police, prisons, lawyers, judges and the like whom we require 
at present to restrain anti-social behaviour; also many of the 
bureaucrats who, not only in times of shortage, are required 
to regulate the activites of our complex society. 1 

As a further outgrowth of this idea of demechanisation and 
remechanisation I should hope to see a change in the nature 
or our concept of leisure. As noted earlier, the distinction 
between work and leisure is an artificial modernism. 2 

Here, too, I think we must resume the earlier pattern of life. 
Work must be done in a leisurely manner. A rationally- 
organised society, instead of devitalising productive activity, 
and then trying to restore the balance by administering tonics 
to an equally devitalised leisure, will set to work to make the 
productive process vital and interesting, and the demand for 
leisure will be weakened. 

There is a third and still more intractable reason why we 
should accept some degree of demechanisation. Men cannot 
be happy while engaged in making fatuous luxuries or perform- 
ing unworthy services. Man needs a worthwhile purpose. To 
grow food, to make a ship or a house, to weave clothes, to 

1 Viscount Samuel estimates that hours of work could be reduced 
to 20 weekly at once, by such eliminations, if only the needed co-opera- 
tion were forthcoming. See The Unknown Land, 1941. 

1 See G. Chapman, Culture and Survival, 1940, to which I am 
indebted for my appreciation of this point. 


Sociology of Happiness 

tend the sick all these and many more provide a satisfactory 
motive and justify the effort and hardship they demand. But 
as we enter the field of luxuries the sense of purpose declines. 
This is not to say that there is no satisfaction in making, let 
us say, precision cameras or vintage port. The satisfaction 
depends on one's estimate of the role it is to play. It is the 
suspicion that the camera is to be used a few times by a wealthy 
flaneur and then put on the shelf or the port poured down some 
guzzling gullet which discourages. 

These principles point uncompromisingly to a method of 
organisation which we are pleased to regard as primitive. They 
suggest a nexus of small-scale individualists working in their 
own time, for their own ends, at the tasks which attract them 
most. We are familiar with the disadvantages of primitive 
industrialism : technically it is less efficient and it is handicapped 
by lack of co-ordination, economically it cannot support 
research and sales organisations and cannot easily spread its 
risks. The technical problem is therefore to apply the machine 
to such small-scale industry in such a way as to raise its efficiency 
and to make use of technological knowledge to bring about the 
necessary co-ordination. Society cannot nothing is more 
certain do without the machine. What it has to do is make the 
machine its servant instead of becoming itself the slave of the 
machine. We must not modify society to suit machine produc- 
tion, we must modify machine production to suit the needs of 

iv A Paraprimitive Society 

We begin to get a picture of a country with a scanty, scattered 
population, neither concentrated in great towns and cities nor 
spread quite evenly over the land as in a primitive farming 
community, but gathered into little knots and clumps, some 
larger than others; here centred round a factory, there congre- 
gating in a modest town; here meeting for some functional, 
productive purpose, there subordinating productive purpose to 
psychological considerations. 


Conditions of Happiness 

Each scattered community will be free to meet its own 
problems in its own ways, and will develop its own institutions 
and cultural idiosyncrasies. 

Life will flow slowly and smoothly but more widely. It will 
not often reach the violence of outstanding achievement and, 
perhaps, such eminence when it does occur, will be half regretted 
but on the other hand, it will not leave great masses of the 
population devitalised and incapable of any achievement. 

To suggest this kind of pattern as an ideal may invite the 
accusation of indulging in romantic archaism, of attempting 
to escape into the past and of imagining it as a golden age. I 
must emphasise, therefore, that the view here put forward is 
not to be classed with these unrealistic, romantic archaisms. 
The Natural Savage of Carpenter's works is, in fact, often 
undernourished; tortured by yaws, hookworm, and many 
another revolting disease; worn down by strenuous labour; 
plagues by superstitious fears; harrassed by an oppressive 
religion ; and even hag-ridden by neurotic compulsions like the 
Dobu and the Kwakiutl. I recognise the psychological motives 
which turn men's thoughts back to a primitive state and put 
a romantic halo round it. I accept the argument that, without 
machinery, society would not be Utopian but squalid. The task 
is to take the best features from the primitive pattern and to use 
machinery and technology to eliminate the drudgery, disease, 
and expense of spirit, instead of proceeding from one ridiculous 
extreme to another. What I assert is that man must use 
machinery deliberately: must adopt just so much of it as is 
necessary to transform the environment but must be firm in 
rejecting it whenever it would distort his existence. Machines 
are something to employ or ignore, according as they subserve 
the needs of the Good Life or not. Today, in contrast, we adopt 
each new machine without question or hesitation. The machine 
is our master not our servant. 

For a decentralised and 'demechanised* community which, 
nevertheless, makes full deliberate use of machinery and 
technology to serve its purposes, I propose the description 


Sociology of Happiness 

There is also a further sense in which we can afford a return 
to something resembling primitivism, though it is hard to pin 
down. Man seems to need to feel that he is playing his part in 
the whole vast process of life. This has been expressed by saying 
he needs to live symbiotically, or that he needs to live in an 
organic, and not merely a mechanical relationship with his 
surroundings. Here we are dealing with a concept too fragile 
for the coarse analysis of contemporary science. Whatever the 
rationale of this need, and for my part I would connect it with 
the oceanic feeling, it certainly exists and is evident in many 
primitive societies. Probably it is in this sense more than any 
other that we need a paraprimitivism. 

v Changing Human Nature 

As we discuss the sort of changes which might make life 
more satisfying, the question insistently arises: how could such 
changes be brought about ? It is all very well to say that factories 
should deliberately lower their efficiency, but it is hard to 
conceive of any business man doing it today, and he would 
probably go bankrupt if he did. It is all very well to suggest 
that people should live in small towns in the country, but the 
fact is that they steadily flock into the metropolis. 

I think we must suspend our argument to tackle this funda- 
mental problem at once. Indeed, there are certainly many 
improvements we could introduce, quite apart from the far- 
reaching changes here considered, if only people would behave 
differently. And that, of course, is the heart of the problem: 
the real task is to get people to behave differently. Since it would 
defeat the purpose of happiness if people were compelled to 
live where they did not wish, or compelled to follow any other 
principle of some abstract theme, we are bound to operate at 
the level of making people want what is good for them. 1 

1 This will cause some readers to raise the question : who is to say 
what is good for them? And they will suspect that I am merely 
substituting for the arrogance of planning other people's lives the 
greater arrogance of planning their personalities. This danger is 
discussed later in the chapter (p. 249). 


Conditions of Happiness 

And once we achieve this, no further 'planning* is necessary, 
or even desirable. It is a faulty approach to work out principles 
in the way we have just been doing. The only effective approach 
is to work for human self-development. To be sure, a technical 
problem remains, the problem of providing people with the 
best environment for right action which means, before all, 
giving them the data on which to base their decisions but this 
is a minor problem compared with the hopeless and self- 
defeating task of trying to compel people to right action. 

At this point a good many people will be murmuring that you 
can't change human nature, which in the present context, must 
mean: people will always be selfish, acquisitive and aggressive. 
But if we inspect other societies and ways of living throughout 
the world we find that many, probably a majority, avoid the 
errors of our own civilisation. They do not devote themselves 
to the manufacture of goods to the point where this distorts 
their whole life. Their members do not try and accumulate a 
maximum share of what goods there are. Nor do they strive for 
power. When they employ labour they do not pay it as little as 
possible and demand as much effort as the worker can be induced 
by the fear of discharge to give. And some of them never wage 
war. Nothing could be further from the truth than to suggest 
that the pattern of western society is implicit in human nature. 
So the question arises, why do they behave in this way ? 
To some extent this is to be explained in terms of their basic 
personality structure. Thanks to childhood training, both 
deliberate*education and the unplanned lessons of weaning and 
the development of the maternal relationship, they often are 
less aggressive, acquisitive and selfish than we are. Similarly, 
the values they absorb are, frequently, those of co-operative 
behaviour and self-restraint, rather than of personal 'success* 
or conspicuous wealth. But, more important than these, they 
possess different patterns for expressing their needs. To use a 
technical concept from anthropology, they 'phrase' their needs 

For instance, a desire for the respect and admiration of others 
is general in humanity. In our culture it is often phrased in 


Sociology of Happiness 

terms of personal economic success: the man who makes money 
is regarded with envy and approval, the man who fails is 
regarded with scorn. (Note how our phrase 'makes money* 
automatically implies 'for himself/ But in many cultures only 
making money for others would evoke admiration; making it 
for oneself would evoke scorn. This is an example of how we 
'phrase* our needs.) 

But there are plenty of ways of earning approval which do 
not depend on money at all. The most satisfactory, perhaps, is 
to earn it by one's productive skill. This was commonly the 
case in our earlier history and still survives in a limited number 
of fields. Similarly, institutional outlets for aggression, such as 
the duel or the tournament, conducted under strict rules, 
provide a spillway for aggression which, without them, might 
burst out in uncontrolled form. 

In my opinion, then, we can only solve the problems of 
modern society by a double change. We must change our values, 
but in order to make such a change effective we must also 
change the nature of our social pattern. To put it baldly, we 
must change from a competitive and individualistic basis to a 
co-operative basis. I do not believe that any change of values, 
any deeper understanding of the conditions of happiness, is 
enough in itself to stop the rot. We have to change the whole 
basis of our society. 

Those who pin their faith to the need for a change of values 
(important as this is) forget that values are based in experience. 
If people flock to the towns it is because they actually find life 
in the towns, on balance, more agreeable than life in the country. 
If they take jobs on production lines, this is because they find 
such jobs more agreeable than no jobs at all. The choice which 
each man has to make is the choice between the alternatives 
which exist in his society as it is. Something must be allowed 
for convention and custom, but basically this is the position. 
Actions which would be wise in society as it might be are not 
rewarding in society as it is. Thus, it is only by a creative effort that 
we can solve our problems. We need the imagination to visualise 
a different pattern of society and the courage to work for it. 


Conditions of Happiness 

The foregoing statement of the double attack which we must 
make on society requires a second gloss which is already 
obvious. It is that values cannot be changed effectively unless 
personality is changed. And co-operative behaviour is also a 
matter of personality formation. So really the task is a triple 
one: to reconstruct personality, values, and institutions (or, if 
you prefer, phrasing). 

The concept of a co-operative society needs expansion. So 
bound are we by our own experience that it is difficult for us 
even to imagine society organised on a substantially different 
basis from that we know. To work out the pattern of a co- 
operative society for a machine-civilisation cannot be done in a 
book or a paragraph, and I shall not attempt it. To give some 
hint of what I mean I can mention one or two features of life 
in primitive co-operative societies. 

In general, people do not work for their own advantage. They 
spontaneously undertake projects for the good of the group 
or rather of a group, it may be the family in-group or it may be 
the whole community. Sometimes the community will call on 
them to take such an initiative, for which their skill or experience 
fits them, and they accept this call, proud of the honour, but 
somewhat reluctantly, In return the group shares out its 
'income* and possessions among its members. Occasionally such 
societies have aberrant members who take but do not give. They 
are regarded as a liability. Of course, the community has 
certain recourse against those who do not play the game. It can 
ostracise tHem or cut off the supply of goods. It can refuse to 
co-operate in their projects. 

When we compare such a pattern with that of industrial 
society we find it so difficult that we can hardly imagine follow- 
ing it. We can scarcely visualise the business entrepreneur 
conducting business for whatever pittance society chooses to 
give him. But on looking more closely we find the differences 
are less striking. The civil servant does attempt to conduct the 
community's business for a sum which is relatively small. The 
prominent man does undertake work on committees and delega- 
tions as a matter of public spirit. The strength of such patterns, 


Sociology of Happiness 

once established, is well shown by the case of the family. The 
businessman, however egoistic, does provide for his family 
without receiving any material return. If occasionally a man 
refuses to provide for his family he has the whole weight of 
public opinion against him, and the law can also be invoked to 
enforce his conformity with the approved pattern. 

The fact is, our society, like almost all societies, contains 
many co-operative elements. The concept of the pursuit of 
self-interest put forward by Adam Smith never had any justifi- 
cation as a comprehensive analysis of human behaviour. But 
during the nineteenth century, encouraged by Darwin, we 
steadily built up the competitive elements at the expense of the 
co-operative. We came to believe that society really was com- 
petitive. The truth is that competition, a disruptive force, can 
only function as long as co-operation is present to limit its 
evil effects. 1 Unfortunately we have begun to believe in competi- 
tion as an unqualified good; the task today is to shift the 
emphasis back on to co-operation. 

Such a change offers, without doubt, great difficulty. The 
transition must set up enormous tensions. While some people 
in the society are working to a new pattern and some to the old 
there will be disputes between them; and often individuals will 
be at conflict within themselves, torn as they must be between 
two codes. In fact, it is because we are engaged in a change from 
one pattern to another that our society is so disorganised and 
unhappy today. Unfortunately, we have no clear idea of what 
we are changing to, and the probability is that we shall have 
gone through all this torment without achieving happiness. The 
society at which we arrive may be stable, all right, but that does 
not mean that it will necessarily be co-operative and it is 
only in a co-operative society that we can hope to achieve 

1 Anthropologically speaking, the division of society into co-opera- 
tive and competitive elements is inexact . . . Properly, individualism 
is the other extreme from co-operation. Competition, as we understand 
it, lies midway between, since competition implies competition 
between'groups, but co-operation within them. See M. Mead, 
tion and Competition among Primitive Peoples, 1937. 


Conditions of Happiness 

The interesting feature of Hitler's regime is that he clearly 
understood the nature of the problem of social change. His aim 
was the disastrous one of the totalitarian state, but his technique 
was on the right lines. He attacked at the level of personality 
(the Hitler Youth employed quite deliberate techniques for 
making young Germans selfless and aggressive) at the level of 
values, through the propaganda machine, and at the level of 
institutions, such as the Arbeitsfront, Kraft durch Freude, the 
Hitler brides, the mass rallies and countless others. The fact 
that Germany was defeated on the field of battle, while not 
unrelated to her ultimate aims, casts no reflection on the 
effectiveness (it was all too effective in the circumstances) of 
Hitler's social technique. 

vi Economics of Decentralisation 

But even if we establish such a society the technical problem 
remains. How will a decentralised community avoid wasteful 
disorganisation, futile duplication of effort, and unnecessary 
barriers to intercourse ? And can it absorb the effects of local 
catastrophe by spreading it over the community as a whole ? 

If anything can solve this dilemma it is the machine. As I see 
it, the ideal society will be it must be comprised chiefly of 
small closely-woven communities. To a much larger extent than 
now, these will produce for their own needs. There will be 
much less to-and-fro movement of goods about the country. 
Administration will be very largely in local hands. There will 
be much less emphasis on consistency between one area and 
another. To knit these communities into a large organism there 
will be required a delicate but sensitive nervous system. Here 
a biological parallel may help us. It will not be, as at present, 
a system terminating in a great central brain with quasi- 
dictatorial powers over every part, but rather one terminating 
in a solar plexus which will, all unconsciously, balance out the 
counter-pulls of many local decisions. 

In less imaginative terms, the local communities will have 
to keep the plexus informed weekly or even daily of their rate 


Sociology of Happiness 

of consumption and production. The plexus, which we may 
conceive of as a statistical office housing a battery of electric 
calculating and integrating machines, will sum all this informa- 
tion and indicate continuously whether production is going to 
balance consumption, in every class of goods, over the whole 
territory. On the basis of such information, received every 
morning, local consumers and producers will be able to adjust 
their behaviour so as to restore a balance. 

We need not suppose that the administrative system will be 
rigidly compartmented. The administrative areas will vary 
according to the purpose they serve. The physical difficulties 
of bringing together committees involving people in different 
areas will be readily overcome by radio and television. 

Nor need the principle of local autonomy be applied rigidly. 
Society should certainly not be developed according to a formal 
plan. Large industrial enterprises will not be wholly eliminated : 
such complex tasks as manufacturing aircraft or atomic energy 
plants will necessarily be organised on a regional or zonal basis, 
and no doubt these factories will themselves be the nucleus of 
a social grouping or community. In fact, variety of organisation 
should be one of the most striking characteristics of a reconstituted 
society. The great freedom of the local autonomous units will 
ensure that. But wherever consistency is logically indicated 
as in standardisation of electric voltages for instance a 
'hook-up' of all interested parties on the television circuits will 
make the reaching of agreement a relatively easy matter. 
(Goodwill we are, of course, taking for granted. The problem 
here considered is the technical one.) 

One of the arguments most frequently brought against 
decentralisation is that small industrial units are inefficient. The 
idea that size and efficiency are positively correlated is quite 
incorrect. Colin Clark, investigating forty industries in five 
countries found that 'no correlation existed between size of 
firm and net output per worker.' Going more closely into the 
matter, he showed that in certain industries large firms are more 
efficient than small, while in others the reverse is the case; 
in yet others still more complicated rules prevail. Thus, in the 


Conditions of Happiness 

case of Britain, at the time of the 1930 census of production, 
large firms were more efficient than small in the case of such 
industries as petrol refining, flour milling and tube making; 
small firms were more efficient than large in iron and steel 
smelting, cotton weaving, linen weaving and jute manufacture ; 
firms of medium size were more efficient than large or small 
in wire making and non-metalliferous mining; both large and 
small firms were more efficient than medium sizes in aluminium, 
lead, cotton spinning, silk, sugar and iron and steel blast 
furnaces. 1 

Particularly interesting is the work of Ralph Borsodi in 
America. In practical tests carried out over many years in an 
experimental community near New York, he and his co-workers 
have shown that small-scale production is more economical than 
large in very many fields. Even in the case of flour milling, where 
Clark found large units more efficient than small, he has 
demonstrated that it can be done in the home with electric 
equipment at much less than commercial cost, even when full 
allowance is made for capital charges, depreciation, repairs 
and labour. 2 

Possibly the reader will expect me at this point, since I am 
writing under the heading of economics, to deal with such 
technicalities as inflation, the budget or the balance of trade. 
If so, he has misunderstood the role of economics. In mediaeval 
society what people did in the economic sphere was settled 
by custom and, where custom failed, by agreement as to the 
most suitable course. Profit was not a primary consideration, 
nor did ownership bestow the right of disposing of property 
as the owner saw fit. But, as Sir Henry Maine pointed out long 
ago, status was gradually replaced by contract: that is, a man 
was held free to act as he wished provided he observed any 
explicitly stated conditions. Ownership of property entitled him 
to dispose of property as he liked. In short, economics became 
a system of control. The use to which land was put, for instance, 
was settled not by tradition or public feeling, but by whoever 

1 C. Clark, Conditions of Economic Progress, 1940. 

2 See R. Borsodi, Prosperity and Security, 1938. 


Sociology of Happiness 

could afford to become the owner. This was the conception of 
economics developed by Adam Smith. 

But I am now postulating a thoroughly public-spirited citizen 
as the indispensable basis of social reconstruction. Such a 
citizen will not feel himself free to exploit the situation for his 
own benefit within the limits imposed by contract. Such a 
citizen will feel obliged to ascertain the general feeling and to 
seek the best social solution. In these circumstances economics 
ceases to be a method of control, and becomes a technical 
problem. If a project is considered desirable and funds are 
lacking, all that is required is to pipe them in from some point 
where funds have accumulated. The 'owner' of such funds will 
have no more objection than does the chief engineer of a power 
station which is called on to put current into the grid. That is, 
he is free to object on technical grounds but not on grounds of 

To work out the terms of a technical economics is a technical 
problem which must not be underrated. It would however be 
a waste of effort to undertake it at this stage, for this, of course, 
is not the direction in which we are moving at present. The 
course of leaving control to economics having produced such 
disastrous results as soon as it was applied without restraint, 
we have chosen to give to the state the role of imposing limita- 
tions on the contract. This method is quite ineffective and leads 
to the accumulation of more and more controls. The only 
workable control is one's own conscience. 

The thing which makes the maintenance of such local 
communities as living organisms possible is the paradox that 
the more people can travel the less they need move. In the mass 
economic organisation of today a man must go where the job 
sends him, and owing to the pulsations of the trade cycle he is 
likely several times to change his employer. On each such 
occasion he may have to move house and family to a new district, 
cutting at one blow all the emotional and social roots he and 
his family have established in the district. Hence, in part, the 
disintegration and loneliness of modern suburban life. With 
the much greater diversification of local industry which we 


Conditions of Happiness 

foresee for the future, and the increasingly attractive nature 
of most productive processes, together with greater economic 
stability, such moves should be far fewer. On the other hand, 
when the job does take a man away from home, speedy travel 
will enable him to return to his normal residence between his 
brief stints of work, rather than tear up his home and carry it 
to the neighbourhood of his work. 

In short, although people will travel more and will doubtless 
on their holidays visit all parts of the world, they Vill neverthe- 
less grow much firmer roots in the soil of the county they have 
chosen to make their own. 

VII Consistency or Variety? 

A society such as I am visualising would necessarily exhibit 
great local variation. Such variation would probably affect the 
standard of living, and this may appear to some as an obstacle. 
We do not fully realise how dominated we have become in the 
west by the idea of consistency. We think it a genuine injustice 
if we find people getting unequal pay for equal work. The 
whole basis of trade unionism and hence of labour socialism 
is to establish consistency of pay and conditions for given 
jobs. The same assumption supports the plea of equal pay for 

What is not understood is that this desire for consistency 
extends only to material goods and services. We do not think 
it wrong that one person should have more power than another, 
and so we see nothing ridiculous about constructing a system 
in which power is made more unequal in order to make the 
distribution of goods more equal. Still less do we worry about 
whether people have equal access to emotional, aesthetic or 
spiritual experiences. 

The citizen of the future, not needing goods to bolster his 
personality, will attach relatively little importance to goods 
and so will doubtless be quite uninterested in whether the 
distribution is equal or not. People will take as much or little 
as they fancy and anyone who shows a pathological desire for 


Sociology of Happiness 

goods will recognise himself as ill and consult his doctor. If 
they worry about consistency at all, it will be in the emotional, 
aesthetic and spiritual sphere. But I doubt if they will worry as 
we do. They will recognise that, here as in so many things, one 
loses on the roundabouts what one gains on the swings. The 
more consistency, the less variety. Between these two they will 
try and hold a balance, and will, if anything, think variety the 
more important. 

vm Nature of Man 

The objection may be offered by some that any attempt to 
change human personality by deliberate methods inevitably 
introduces satanic dangers. Everyone remembers the terrifying 
picture, drawn by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World (and 
sometimes oddly referred to as an Utopia) of a race conditioned 
from birth to behave as the state sees fit. Is this the danger which 
we run if we try to produce citizens for Utopia ? 
. This problem really turns upon the nature of our concept 
of man. If we conceive him as fundamentally unselfish our work 
can be confined to removing the handicaps which stunt and 
restrict his development. A gardener does not determine the 
ultimate shape of the tree ; he merely seeks to enable it to realise 
to the fullest extent the potentialities which were ever implicit 
in the seed. He cannot make an elm grow like an oak; he can 
only make it into an apotheosis of elmhood. It is only when he 
undertakes the distinctive arts of Japanese gardening or topiary 
that he begins to distort its treehood. As long as we confine 
ourselves to gardening pure and simple there can be no inherent 
danger in any attempt to foster human development. 

If, however, human nature is essentially unco-operative and 
unloving any attempt to make men co-operate implies a policy 
of restricting development and implies the setting of an artifici- 
ally-conceived target or pattern of desired behaviour. In this 
case attempts to improve behaviour are attended with a very 
real danger. This does not necessarily mean we should not 
make them, but it does mean we shall have to be extremely 

C.H. 17 24 9 

Conditions of Happiness 

careful to avoid dogmatism about the end and the danger of 
unscrupulous men misusing these new-won powers. 

The view on which this book is based is that man embodies 
two principles, one self-assertive and primarily selfish, the other 
loving and remarkable in that it both gratifies his own needs 
(i.e. makes him happy) and simultaneously leads him to 
unselfish behaviour. If man contained simply selfish and unselfish 
drives no stable solution would be possible. It is solely due 
to the extraordinary fact that love gratifies selfish needs in the 
course of unselfish behaviour that any satisfactory solution can 
be imagined. 

ix Security or Self-Determination ? 

Finally we come to the question of security. Here we have a 
good deal of confused thinking to dispose of. Man has at all 
times to preserve a balance between his needs, and this is true 
of security. Man needs to feel himself a responsible agent in 
control of his own fate. A purely paternalistic security frustrates 
this need. The task which confronts us is not so much to 
provide security as to increase man's power to control his own 

The modern world has found subtle ways of undermining 
that power. The workman is deprived of his livelihood by 
impersonal economic forces, he is caught up in wars whose 
genesis baffles his understanding, and so forth the arraignment 
is quite familiar. But let us have no false romanticism. The primi- 
tive is also at the mercy of an arbitrary fate crops may fail, 
disease may strike, catastrophe break loose. I don't doubt that 
he is worse off than industrial man in this respect. 

In principle, technology does give man an added power to 
control his own fate. The task is to place that power in the 
hands, not just of man in general, but of each man individually. 
Society must be so organised that he can use that power. 

In the sphere of economics there is no insoluble difficulty. 
The farmer can always survive a bad year or two. How does 
he manage it ? First, he produces for subsistence he produces 


Sociology of Happiness 

necessities, and can always meet his own basic needs. The fact 
that he produces necessities means there is always some sale 
for his goods. People may stop buying luxuries altogether, but 
they cannot wholly stop buying goods. If the money mechanism 
breaks down they will revert to barter to get them. The second 
element in the situation is that the peasant farmer can always 
spread the work thinner. If sales fall off he does not discharge 
men, he farms more extensively and less intensively. 

Both these principles could be applied in a community of the 
type I have been describing. A co-operatively-run factory, in 
which the staff was bound together by ties of respect and affec- 
tion, would always prefer to spread the work, and the pay, 
thinner rather than to throw out some of the workers, just as a 
family cuts its standard of living all round during a depression 
instead of throwing one of the children in the street. Secondly, 
the small local community, as I visualise it, will have diversified 
occupations and, owing to the reduced emphasis on luxuries, 
a considerable part of its activity will be concerned with neces- 
sities. Much more than now, it will verge on being self- 
supporting. At the same time, the existence of large regional, 
national and international networks of credit and communica- 
tion will enable it to borrow to meet temporary crises in a way 
which is not open to the true primitive community. 


x The Problem of Purpose 

After all has been said and done, the irritating doubt arises: 
will the inhabitants of our paraprimitive Utopia really be 
happy ? We cannot resist the suspicion that, like the seamen in 
The Unknown Land, they will feel bored. As Oscar Wilde said, 
there are only two tragedies in life: not having everything you 
want, and having it. 

Thinking round this paradox we recall how often one 
struggles to attain some objective, believing it will bring 
happiness; and when one attains it, for a time it seems to do 
so, but before long one is off again pursuing some new goal. 
Looking back, it seems to us that we were happiest when we 


Conditions of Happiness 

were still striving for happiness, From this the view derives 
that happiness is a by-product of the effort to pursue some 
ulterior end, and must not be pursued as an end in itself. If this 
is so, for what end are the Utopians to struggle ? 

These considerations puzzle us because we view the problem 
from within the limitations of our own culture. Western society 
is, as we have argued, abnormally preoccupied with striving, 
with attempts at self-validation. When we are striving success- 
fully, the neurotic anxieties which cause this behaviour are 
temporarily appeased, and so we do obtain a temporary increase 
in happiness. This is why Shaw can make Captain Brassbound 
say: 'Give a man a course to steer and he will be too busy to 
worry about happiness.' Any course, you note. But only a 
warped individual could be satisfied without asking to what 
destination the course led. 

There is one purpose for which the Utopian must struggle, 
and that is, to meet his own needs. As I argued earlier, the 
concept of needs must be interpreted dynamically. Man does 
not simply require to have his needs satisfied; he needs to. 
satisfy them by his own efforts, and to take the responsibility 
which this implies. If he is to be happy, his life must be so 
arranged that he is directly engaged in contributing to his own 
self-preservation and self-fulfilment and that of others. 

Yet we know that no man can undertake undivided responsi- 
bility for himself all the time. There are bound to be occasions 
when misfortune and ill health defeat him. Therefore he must 
live among others who will at such times step forward to help 
him in just such measure, and for just so long as he needs help. 
And when I say help I mean much more than material aid; I 
mean also sympathy, moral support, wise counsel, intellectual 
stimulus and good example. Correspondingly he must stand 
ready to offer such aid to others. Finally, he will also be ready 
to take part in the collective purposes of the group. 

At the same time, our preoccupation with purpose makes us 
fail to realise that many activities can be rewarding not just as 
means to ends, but in themselves. 

It is because of this obsession that we get the classic western 


Sociology of Happiness 

definition of happiness as the devotion of the maximum effort 
to the best possible end. It is because of this obsession that we 
cannot conceive the Utopians being happy in a static Utopia. 
The idea that they might be happy doing things for the happi- 
ness of doing them eludes us. 

When we look around and try to classify those who in our 
own culture or some other have truly achieved happiness, we 
invariably observe that they have rejected striving; that they 
find their happiness in 'just living*, and in the security of a 
satisfactory relationship. We may suppose therefore that the 
Utopian citizen will be content to lead a life which, judged by 
contemporary standards, would appear as dull and stagnant. 
Judged by his own, it will seem rich and exciting, splendid with 
a great range of experience, feeling and discovery. While our 
obsessive, distractive, emotionally starved, artistically drab, 
intellectually stereotyped lives will seem sour and stagnant to 

To the Utopian, having everything he wants, and not having 
.it, will be matters of equal indifference. 



I A Revolution in Thought n The Double Delusion in The 
Synthetic Approach iv Society is an Organism v Progress or 
Regress ? vi Reconstructing Values vn Inducation vm Is Happi- 
ness Possible ? 

I A Revolution in Thought 

IT is difficult to over-emphasise the tremendous and far- 
reaching significance of the social and psychological discoveries 
which I have attempted to describe in this book. Many of the 
details may be wrong, yet the main thesis can hardly be denied : 
that men and society interact, and only an attack at the key- 
points of this process has any hope of success. 

Even if the analysis is only approximately correct it calls for 
a complete reconstruction of our ideas about politics, economics, 
morality and how to live our daily lives. The bulk of human 
activity in the west is seen to be abortive. Most of its plans 
for the future are revealed as futile. The pattern of life needs 
reconstructing from the ground up. 

Perhaps our most serious defect is to have lost the power of 
wonder. We scarcely recognise a revolution when we see it. 
Amazing technical miracles cause only a passing interest: even 
the miracle of the atomic bomb inspires no amazement, only 
fear. The man who tries to re-awaken our sense of wonder is 
accused of taking himself too seriously. Nothing ever changes, 
says the cynic from his comfortable superiority, ignoring the 
fact that things change all the time. The reasons for this attitude 
are easy to see: to admit that drastic readjustments are needed 
is to commit ourselves to an exhausting and anxious process of 
revision: we have to challenge all our hard-won convictions and 
reject many of them. We may have to change the habits of a 


Politics of Happiness 

lifetime. The assertions in the last paragraph but one may seem 
sweeping, but I believe that we have here the beginnings of a 
revolution in human affairs, and to awaken an appropriate 
reaction in my readers I must risk the accusation of having 
overstated my case. 

Whatever else may be cast in doubt, I believe it is beyond 
question that the many political and economic theories which 
occupy the world today, which absorb so much devoted support 
or embittered opposition, and which are held to justify so much 
brutality and bloodshed, are 90 per cent, error, both as regards 
ends and means. Movements like socialism which are primarily 
concerned to help men in meeting their physical needs, not 
only leave psychological needs unsatisfied but are bound to 
intensify frustration by the very means they adopt to further 
their main end. Socialists and communists are dominated by 
the same error as industrial capitalists: all believe or act as 
though they believe that the thing is to maximise the supply of 
goods and services. 

If the conclusions of this book are correct, socialism and 
communism are pursuing the wrong end. Whatever they may 
say or believe, what in practice they are doing is trying to 
produce even more goods than capitalism and to distribute them 
according to a different system. But goods, in our view, 
constitute a trivially unimportant factoi in happiness. It is no 
counter-argument to point to an undernourished man sitting 
workless in a slum and to expatiate upon the improvement there 
would be in his lot if he had a modern flat, more food, and a car 
to take him into the country, because the chances are that 
were it not for the industrial machine he would not be in the 
slum, he would not be workless, he would not be starving, and 
he would be in the country. The average crofter in the north- 
west of Scotland lives in accommodation which if it were in 
the centre of a slum would be intolerable, he spends on food 
a sum which if he had to spend it in a big city would be 
insufficient to support life, but which in the quite different 
circumstances of the country are only a little less than adequate. 
I am not suggesting that the crofter's lot is ideal it is far from 


Conditions of Happiness 

that but if I had to choose between a croft and a Glasgow 
slum I should not have to think twice. 

It is a symptom of our misunderstanding that conservatives 
attack socialist proposals, such as nationalisation, on the grounds 
that they will not work efficiently and socialists defend them by 
denying this. The argument is idle. Even if we could prove 
that nationalisation will raise output, that is no reason for 
introducing it. 1 The question which matters is, will it raise 
happiness ? 

These criticisms apply with equal force to capitalism. 

Socialists will point to the existence of undernourishment 
and overcrowding. Is it no contribution to happiness to attack 
these evils they will demand ? Of course it is within the con- 
text of our current type of society. It is also a good thing to give 
parachutes to the passengers of a burning aircraft, but it is still 
better to put the fire out : and there may not be time to do both. 

Socialists will point to social security measures. At least you 
cannot object to them, they will say, for you have yourself 
stressed the need for security. But the same argument applies. 
Unemployment as we know it is a symptom of industrialism. 
With a less highly-differentiated industrial machine and an 
output confined to essentials, plus communal spirit, what little 
unemployment emerged could at once be absorbed by local 
readjustments of working schedules, just as it is in a primitive 
farming economy. The need for a costly social security 
organisation is created by the vast and specialised industrial 
machine -on which both capitalism and socialism equally rely. 

By the same token, our so-called science of economics is 
revealed as no science at all. It bases its arguments on the 
premise that happiness will result from supplying goods and 
services to meet a demand expressed in money. But as we have 
seen, men cannot express their most important demands in 
terms of money and supplying goods and services cannot meet 

Equally, contemporary politico-economic devices are futile 

1 Except possibly as a temporary measure to meet post-war short- 
ages and reconstruction problems. 


Politics of Happiness 

considered as means. They attempt to change human behaviour 
without changing human personality. They can only succeed 
to the extent that human nature is ready for the change. Ration- 
ing, for instance, is a device for ensuring the equal distribution 
of scarce supplies. In England it works because the majority 
of the population regards such sharing as desirable and is 
morally ready to co-operate in such a scheme or, if that is 
putting it too high, let us say, is not so extremely egoistic as to 
make a serious effort to wreck the scheme. In many European 
countries it fails for the converse reason. If efforts are then 
made to enforce it by heavy penalties what is really happening 
is that the authorities are trying to raise the moral level of human 
behaviour by force. Such attempts are futile. Even if they 
succeed for a time in changing overt behaviour, they fail to 
bring about any moral change, and the oppressive nature of 
their methods will produce a moral retreat. The use of force 
begets force, not co-operation. 

Thus, if Britain can operate a socialised economy today it is 
because Britons are, on the whole, ready to co-operate in such 
a programme. If Americans are not ready, it is because they 
are still in a more individualistic, i.e. egoistic stage of develop- 
ment. Socialism is only an administrative device ; it depends 
for its success on a moral advance which it cannot foster or 
control, and this advance is the only real progress in the 
situation. The rest is a matter of technique. 

Marxists will protest that I have mis-stated their views. Of 
course, we recognise the necessity of producing better people, 
they will say, but how can you hope to produce decent person- 
alities in slum conditions ? This is a half-truth. The chances of a 
satisfactory psychological and physical environment are 
undoubtedly low in a slum. But they are not very high else- 
where. It is not from the ranks of the very poor, but from the 
bourgeois sections of society that most neurotics come. Some 
of the most ruthless and bigoted men in history were born in 
materially quite favourable conditions. 

The marxist is correct in attributing to wrong environment 
the creation of distorted personalities. His trouble is, he does 


Conditions of Happiness 

not know the nature of the connection and instead of arraigning 
just those elements in the environment which are responsible, 
he seized only on those which strike the eye. If marxists want 
to save their thesis they would do well to bring it into line with 
modern research instead of treating it as a sacrosanct doctrine 
given ex cathedra.* 

ii The Double Delusion 

One of the most serious errors in our political thinking is our 
division of the field into two mutually exclusive camps, right 
and left, conservative and socialist. As we have just argued, both 
right and left subscribe equally to a materialist outlook; they 
differ only as to the means. We should do better, therefore, to 
divide the field into materialists and non-materialists. This is a 
difference of ends. 

It may be that there would be fewer non-materialists in the 
left-wing camp than the right: much would depend on the 
size of the political field we were examining, and the moment 
in time that we chose. Certainly there is a distinct tendency 
for the non-materialists those who have an intuitive grasp of 
the psychological necessities of life to find the left-wing camp 
uncongenial and flock to the conservative colours, where they 
find themselves in uneasy alliance with the commercial- 
materialists to whose ideals they are in reality fundamentally 

1 The acrobatics performed by western marxists in their attempts 
to reconcile analytical psychology with their dogmas provide much 
quiet amusement for onlookers. The first stage was an attempt to 
match Freud's social theories (he sees the origin of social action in a 
revolt of sons against their father to obtain possession of his women) 
with the history of the Russian revolution. (See R. Osborn, Freud 
and Marx y 1937). But when these were generally rejected by sociolo- 
gists, marxists turned to the American school of psychologists 
represented by Homey, Fromm, Erich and others, who had begun 
to stress the importance of social factors in neurosis, and began to 
misrepresent them as attaching no significance to genetic factors. Now 
that Kardiner has shown that genetic factors can be traced to the 
environment, perhaps we shall see a reaction in favour of Freud, and 
the canonisation of Prof. Kardiner. 


Politics of Happiness 

opposed. Here they are blinkered by tradition and reined-in 
by vested interest until they are incapable of preventing the 
destruction of the values they admire. It is, after all, in the name 
of individual freedom that millions have been degraded by 
unemployment, and that much of the countryside has been 
desecrated, just as it is in the name of freedom that American 
citizens lynch negroes. Thus, while the materialist-socialist is 
making rapid progress in the wrong direction, the progressive 
conservative is looking in the right direction and walking 
steadily backwards. 

But there is another way of dividing the field of human 
aspiration which is more useful to our present purpose than 
either of these : we can make a valid distinction between those 
who wish to improve society by social action, that is, methods 
directed outwards from the self against others, and those who 
wish to improve it by individual moral effort, directed inward 
towards the self. 

Those whose temperaments incline them to action want to 
. prevent misbehaviour by the use of force. When they see some 
nuisance being committed their reaction is : there ought to be 
a law against it. Though, paradoxically as it may seem, when 
they find themselves restrained by a law from some course they 
wish to follow they complain of the imposition with the strongest 
annoyance. Unfortunately, the attempt to make people behave 
co-operatively by forcible methods can never succeed. The 
use of force begets force, not co-operation. The most a law 
can do is express the general conscience of the group, in which 
case it compels a minority of backsliders to fall into line. But 
if the group as a whole does not approve it no authority can 
enforce it. Even, however, if such an attempt forcibly to 
reform people could be carried through, it would inevitably 
fail in the ultimate objective of achieving happiness because the 
oppressive and frustrating nature of the regime would make 
happiness impossible. 

People who, nevertheless, put their faith in the use of force 
are to be found in both the right- and left-wing camps. They are 
the possessors of patriform personalities, the fascists and the 


Conditions of Happiness 

communists, the militarists and the militant pacifists, the arch- 
conservatives and the fanatical revolutionaries. Too impatient 
to wait on the slow process of personal self-development, they 
try to take the short cut to Utopia, but succeed only in intro- 
ducing the police-state and end in the irony of compulsory joy. 

Equally vain is the second and contrary delusion, that man 
can be made into the perfect citizen by moral effort. According to 
this view, if we all would only try sufficiently hard to do our 
duty and behave according to the dictates of our consciences 
the world would be as nearly perfect as we have any right to 

If the authoritarian view is the view of the extremists and the 
patrists, the 'do your best' theory is the credo of the middle-of- 
the-roaders and the matriform types. It is the faith of the religious 
who call it behaving like a Christian, and of the atheists, who 
call it behaving decently. Unfortunately, this attitude pays no 
heed to the effects of environment in distorting personality. 
The neurotic and the criminal are viewed as people who, 
starting with equal endowments, just did not try hard enough 
to keep to the approved path. Of recent years some allowance 
has been .made by this school for exceptional temptations 
(such as may confront the poor) and disadvantages in the way 
of inadequate education, but fundamentally they regard the 
lapse as a failure of will. But the failure is really a failure of the 
power to love : it is a neurosis. Now as we have seen, neurosis 
is not a divagation from the path of life, but a desperate attempt 
to adapt tolt. It is only because of his neurosis that the neurotic 
manages to get as near normality as he does. To ask him to 
make an effort and conquer his neurosis is like asking a lame 
man to give up his limp. It cannot be done by an effort of will, 
only by a fundamental cure. In psychological terms, the only 
solution they see is an intensification of super-ego control : that 
is, improvement through the imposition of a self-discipline 
which, because it thwarts natural impulses, inevitably becomes 
more and more puritanical. This leads to a society in which the 
puritan, or calvinist, not only makes himself miserable but 
prevents anyone else from being happy either. 


Politics of Happiness 

Furthermore, the religious or self-discipline approach (if we 
may so call it) implies a pessimistic view of the possibilities of 
progress. Each new individual that is born into the world must 
make the same old effort at self-control all over again. He gets 
no help from the achievements of those who preceded him, 
except perhaps the cold comfort of a mark to aim at. The defects 
of such systems is that, like Mrs. Partington with her mop, 
they register trifling tactical victories while being steadily 
defeated on the main front. And that orthodox religious 
teaching has been defeated on the main front cannot be denied 
by anyone who looks honestly at the world today. The picture 
disclosed by analytical psychology, on the other hand, is much 
more encouraging. By attacking the forces which create character 
distortion we can ensure a better start for all who come after. 
The path is difficult, but it does lead upwards. 

The self-discipline approach is also susceptible of criticism 
on more fundamental grounds. By appealing to us to obey our 
consciences it accepts our ego-ideals as above criticism. But 
.these, as we have seen, are no more than a reflection of the 
general values of our society, as transmitted through the imper- 
fect channel of introjection. In sober fact our consciences often 
permit the undesirable and still more often disallow what is 
quite permissible. They are a sort of automatic pilot keeping us 
on whatever course we were following when they were switched 
on. They do not enable us to dispense with a navigator. 

By another paradox, the advocates of personal effort are the 
last to complain when the advocates of direct action promulgate 
a law regulating some aspect of behaviour. In secret truth, they 
welcome it because it relieves their super-ego of some of its 
burden. 1 

As so often when two opposing theses have both proved 
impotent, a solution is found in a new synthesis which embodies 
features of both. The view put forward here can claim to be 
such a synthesis. According to this view neither social action 
nor personal self-discipline alone or in combination will suffice 
to bring us nearer a better world. The solution the only 
1 R. West, Conscience and Society, 1942. 

Conditions of Happiness 

solution is to attack at the points where society and personality 
meet. There are two. The customs which influence the forma- 
tion of basic personality and the values which provide the field 
of force in which personalities operate. These are the decisive 
factors. All other reformative activities are as useless as putting 
more comfortable seats in a car which is travelling towards a 

This thesis is a true synthesis: it agrees unreservedly with 
the moralists and religious reachers that society can only be 
reformed through improving individuals; it agrees unreservedly 
with the marxists that the pre-condition of better behaviour 
is improved environment. It goes further than both in specifying 
precisely which elements in the environment are the crucial 
factors in the case. 

in The Synthetic Approach 

In the final analysis, the defect of contemporary politics and 
economics is that they are flat two-dimensional views of a 
complex multi-dimensional reality. The reality with which 
we have Jto deal is man-in-society a delicate reciprocal 
relationship which in my opening chapter I called the psycho- 
social nexus. The moment we begin to lift some part of this 
nexus out of its natural context and consider it separately we 
introduce a source of error into our calculations. 

The simplest of such abstractions is to try and discuss man 
alone, ignoring the influence on him of society, and this 
individualistic approach generally leads to a reaction in which 
we begin to discuss society, ignoring its origin in men. Neither 
psychology nor sociology can be accurate as descriptions of 
their chosen subject as long as they ignore the other, because 
these two cannot in any real sense be separated. A biologist 
who attempted to discuss the human brain without reference 
to the body in which it is located would produce as partial 
and inaccurate an analysis as a biologist who attempted 
to describe the body without reference to the brain which 
controls it. 


Politics of Happiness 

How much more inaccurate must our analysis be when we 
abstract some narrow group of functions, such as political or 
economic activities, from the complex of man-in-society. 
Immediately we are led into the error of treating an economic 
institution, as if it were only an economic institution, ignoring 
the fact that it has emotional, aesthetic and social functions too. 
Immediately, we treat political devices as if their sole function 
were to deploy power over individuals and forget that the real 
purpose of politics is to free those individuals from any but their 
own power. 

The analytic method, by which we isolate objects from their 
context for closer study has its merits, but we have pushed it to 
the point where it has led us into disastrous errors. We must 
return to the synthetic method that is, the method of building 
up fragments into coherent wholes. The situation will perhaps 
be clearer if we take a simple analogy : the case of a designer 
specialising in magnetos. Such a designer can never afford to 
forget the engine in which his magneto is to function. Though 
for short spaces of time he may isolate some small detail from 
its context, he must constantly refer back to the overall picture 
and every detail of his design will be dictated to spme extent 
by whether he is designing a magneto for a Spitfire or for a 
motor-cycle. He must, therefore, have in his head a clear picture 
of the functioning of petrol engines in general and even of the 
detail design of the particular engine for which his magneto 
is intended. A magneto designer who worked in an intellectual 
vacuum would soon be out of a job. 

Similarly, the man who poses as an authority on economics 
and politics must be fully educated in the whole range of 
man's motivations, so that he can see his political or economic 
motives in their proper context. Similarly, he must under- 
stand the nature, function and context of all social institutions 
before he presumes to design new economic or political 

We are very far from such a state of affairs today. Few 
economists or politicians have any but the most rudimentary 
understanding of psychology and still fewer any understanding 


Conditions of Happiness 

of social structure. The ludicrous errors of economists are 
chiefly due to their childishly naive view of human motivation, 
so long described by textbooks as 'the rational pursuit of self- 

iv Society is an Organism 

In particular, we must open our eyes to the fact that society 
is an organism. Unfortunately, our fathers' excessive preoccupa- 
tion with the individual that is, with the first term of the nexus 
man-in-society led to a violent reaction in which a great part 
of the world has become preoccupied with the second term of 
the nexus, and has tended to conceive social organisation and 
man in his collective aspect as the primary reality. Since 
society is made for man and not man for society this is an even 
more serious error than the first. 

The solution is certainly not to react once more into the first 
error, but to build a new synthesis out of these two antitheses. 
It is in this context that we must consider the social organism. 
Even if its purpose is no more than the purpose of its 
component.units that is no reason for ignoring the reality of its 

Society is an organism held together primarily by the desire 
of man for the companionship and help of his fellow men, with 
whom he forms emotional links which are the ultimate purpose 
of his earthly existence. No politics and no economics is of 
any value \vhich does not respect these emotional links, and 
make their preservation and growth its main concern. What, 
then, are we to say of a politics which (as in the Versailles 
Treaty) blandly transfers whole populations from one area to 
another and draws lines through the middle of others, severing 
such emotional links by the million? Simply that it is blind 
madness. The statesmen, so-called, of Versailles were at no 
higher mental level than the child which cuts a worm in half 
to see if it will grow a new tail except that the child at least 
has the excuse that it has been misinformed by its elders in the 


Politics of Happiness 

How dare people set themselves up to direct the affairs of 
men without having studied for many years in deep humility 
all that human wisdom has accumulated in the way of informa- 
tion about men and their societies? To practise politics 
without a degree in social science should be a crime more 
serious than performing a surgical operation without having 
done a course of study in medicine and surgery. To be sure, 
social science is still most imperfect, but the greater our 
ignorance the greater our duty to make use of the few facts we 
have established. 

The example of Versailles is a crass one, and we have now 
come to realise the depth of folly it implied, but in slightly 
less obvious spheres we repeat the mistake all the time. We 
blithely undermine the structure of society by releasing tech- 
nical devices like the motor-car and the radio without a moment's 
preliminary consideration of their effect. We cheerfully shift 
populations about, or appeal to women to go into factories 
without even wondering what effect this will have on a primary 
^ocial unit like the family. 

Despite the fact that every anthropologist knows that violent 
mixture of two cultures is a disastrous mistake we even commit 
the supreme folly of founding organisations to promote the 
dissemination of culture-patterns and thus increase the violence 
of acculturation, and we send films of life in New York into the 
remotest villages of the Balkans and the valleys of Norway, 
believing that in some way we are doing good! 

As a matter of fact we even commit mistakes on the scale of 
Versailles; have we not divided Germany into four zones? 
Today we are beginning to see the economic consequences of 
such folly which any competent economist could have pointed 
out at the time but it is our children who will have to grapple 
with the social and psychological consequences of this act, 
just as it is the present generation which has had to pay the 
price of Versailles. Let every young and middle-aged reader 
take heed: our children will hurl at us in twenty years just the 
same accusation that we hurled at the generation before us: 
'you got us into the mess, now we have to get you out/ 

C.H. 18 265 

Conditions of Happiness 
v Progress or Regress ? 

Faced with the reconstruction of all our political and econ 
omic thinking, dimly aware of the titanic errors in which we an 
involved, and with an inkling of the vast reconstruction o 
daily life which a policy of happiness implies, it is natural t< 
shrug one's shoulders and say: it is too much effort. If that is th< 
price of happiness let us go on as we are. 

But one cannot stay still, one must go on or go back. In th< 
ultimate analysis, the process to which we are committed i 
the growth of consciousness. As Heard and Whyte have argued 
we are slowly changing from a mode of existence in which ; 
great part of the mind was at the unconscious level, and societ; 
was held together by unconscious forces, to a mode in which w< 
must be consciously aware of our unity with all men, and thu: 
consciously refrain from doing anything to harm them, anc 
consciously build a society held together by forces of which w< 
are aware. 1 Such a development is, it would seem, part of th< 
irreversible evolution of the race. If we, homo faber miscalle< 
sapiens, fail to take this step forward we will be replaced, in du< 
course, by a creature better fitted to do so. 

But evert if we do not choose to look so far ahead, the prospec 
still makes action imperative. Western society, beset by strain 
greater than have afflicted any in the history of the world, i 
bound to break up. In a final convulsive effort to prevent tha 
catastrophe (for catastrophe it is to the people within the society 
central governments impose a rigid control. It is a new nigh 
of totalitarianism which faces us, beside which the long nigh 
of barbarism under the Goths, the Vandals and the Huns wil 
be, as they say, a picnic. 

What, then, shall we do? 

The first thing, I suggest, is some research. If one-tenth par 
of all the sums which are now being poured into research 
into physics, chemistry, electronics, and the other science; 
which are primarily responsible for our present plight were t< 

1 G. Heard, Man The Master, 1942; L. L. Whyte, The Nex 
Development in Man, 1944. 


Politics of Happiness 

be spent on research into the only sciences which could get us 
out of it, the outlook would be completely transformed. 1 If for 
every physicist we train at our universities we trained a psycho- 
logist, and for every chemist a sociologist, and for every doctor 
a social pathologist, we should have at least a sporting chance 
of survival. 

It is constantly said that man's control over the physical 
world has outrun his control over himself, or that his knowledge 
of external nature has outrun his knowledge of moral and social 
forces. If that is true, as it obviously is, he has only himself 
to blame. Social research is the Cinderella of the sciences. 

In this book I have quoted much anthropological work; I 
must now emphasise how unsatisfactory it is. Few cultures 
have been investigated by more than a single investigator, and 
many of them are being swamped so fast by western culture 
that no further investigation is possible. Each investigator 
brings to his study the prejudices of his own society, the people 
from whom he collects information are not a random sample, 
.because he naturally chooses those who are most loquacious 
or most easily bribed, and their readiness to speak is conditioned 
by their liking for him as an individual. Many such investigators 
have had no psychological training and ignore just those facts 
which are most crucial to the analysis. 2 

All this work needs repeating again and again with improved 
techniques. And much work must be done on the techniques 
themselves. Devices such as the Rohrschach test, and the 
Murray thematic apperception test hold out the promise of a 
more objective and more rigidly standardised type of investiga- 
tion than any hitherto, but they are still in a comparatively 
experimental stage. 3 Many other criticisms could be adduced. 

1 In 1947, in Britain, something like 120,000,000 was spent on 
research in the classical sciences as compared -with little over 500,000 
on the social sciences. 

8 For a fuller discussion see R. Linton, Cultural Background of 
Personality, 1946. 

8 See, for instance, S. J. Beck, Introduction to the Rohrschach 
Method, 1937; and H. A. Murray, Explorations in Personality, 1935. 


Conditions of Happiness 

Admitting, then, that our ignorance is still profound, what 
does it look as if we shall have to do ? 

Firstly, we must strenuously revise the techniques by which 
we train and educate our children. 

I conclude, any intelligently founded programme of reform 
would start not with nationalisation or investment control, not 
with proportional representation or raising the school-leaving 
age, not with social security or town planning, but with a huge 
campaign to produce better people combined with a campaign 
to revise values. It would concentrate on improving the social 
environment rather than the physical environment. The 
Minister of Happiness, the supreme member of the peace 
cabinet, would devote to the instruction of mothers the same 
ingenuity that the Ministry of Food has employed in connection 
with their function as cooks. Happiness insurance would entitle 
one to routine psychiatric treatment just as health insurance 
covers medical treatment. 

It might even be advisable, as a temporary measure at any 
rate, to make, not marriage as in some countries, but motherhood . 
dependent on passing an examination an examination which 
would not only ensure some knowledge of methods but also 
psychological fitness. 

Next we must investigate the break-up of family life. It is 
insufficiently realised that the family (or, alternatively, in- 
group) is a miniature society in which the child learns many of 
its primary lessons in socialisation. But for the family to play 
this role, -two things are necessary. First, it must contain a 
considerable number of persons. The only child of two parents 
living in a flat learns no lessons of socialisation, and when there 
are two children the relation is liable to become one of domin- 
ance and resistance to dominance. And while families have 
grown smaller the in-group has vanished altogether. Since 
the enormous families of the past are undesirable both from 
the viewpoint of the mother and of the total population, 
the solution seems to be a wide reintroduction of the 

The second condition is that the child be left in the family 


Politics of Happiness 

during all his formative years; but we send the child away to 
kindergarten and school at an increasingly early age and throw 
on the school almost the whole responsibility for training it. 
Small wonder that the child comes to look to an impersonal 
authority to regulate its life and meet its needs and so finds it 
natural to depend upon an impersonal state. 

One of the most alarming features of contemporary society is 
the breakdown of super-ego control, or in classical terms, the 
decay of conscience. Selfish, violent or anti-social behaviour 
of an extraordinarily callous sort is becoming the rule rather 
than the exception as the columns of the more lurid Sunday 
newspapers have long been witnessing. I have no doubt that 
one of our most urgent duties is to restore such control in 
reasonable measure. 

As Bateson has told us, the formation of the super-ego is 
dependent on the establishment of an effective link between 
child and parent. Harsh, unloving parents are liable to create 
anti-social children. Children who are separated from their 
.parents are likely to become anti-social. But these things happen 

Secondly, the parent must, in fact, teach the child a code 
of behaviour. Social workers in the slums report that many 
such parents do not do so, or, worse, teach an actively harmful 

Thirdly, parents must reinforce their teaching with some kind 
of punishment (including in this term such things as deprivation 
of affection). But many parents punish so capriciously, some- 
times laughing at behaviour which on another occasion they 
will punish, sometimes venting their spleen by punishing 
innocent acts, that no lesson except doubt is taught. 

Insensibly we have passed from the subject of the immediate 
physical environment of the child to the mental environment 
the role to which he is brought up and the patterns which he 
learns from his parents and from society and introjects into his 
personality. Having ensured that something is introjectcd, the 
question becomes: what? This complex subject is most easily 
discussed under the heading of values. 


Conditions of Happiness 
vi Reconstructing Values 

The ideal code of values is one which both encourages 
people to behave in those ways which foster happiness and 
which deters them from actions which are inimical to it. 

The origin of codes of values, however, is in practical experience. 
And this is where the trouble originates. The unthinking man, 
and especially the young man, tends to attach value to experiences 
which are immediately rewarding, without considering the 
long-term consequences. The reconstruction of values therefore 
involves a constant fight by the most long-sighted and experi- 
enced individuals (not necessarily the oldest) to modify the 
spontaneously -formed valuations of the short-sighted. 

Great importance, therefore, attaches to the machinery avail- 
able for deriving permanent values and especially to the 
machinery available for propagating them. Most primitive 
societies include crude but fairly effective devices for the 
purpose. The formation of values is left to the elders of the 
tribe (not the leaders) and their great prestige normally ensures 
the acceptance of their opinions. In addition the social life of 
the tribe usually provides them with opportunites for advocating 
publicly the values they hold. In modern society this machinery 
has largely broken down. In the mass society it is only possible 
to propagate values by means of instruments of communication 
newspapers, books, films and broadcasts. To a very large extent, 
however, these are at the disposal of people whose opinion on 
values is -worthless. For all practical purposes, the values 
disseminated by these media are decided by the handful of men 
who control them. 

Now the people most likely to reach positions in which 
they can control these great engines of opinion are those who 
are wholeheartedly devoted to the pursuit of wealth and power. 
In addition we have one fact that, whatever their personal 
beliefs, in an industrial civilisation it is in the interest of 
business magnates to cultivate a desire for goods and services: 
this is the sole object of advertising. In short, communication 
media are in the hands of men selected for their ignorant, 


Politics of Happiness 

selfish and material viewpoint. Thus, we have established an 
enormous machine for the inculcation of materialistic values. 
(To the above list we may add the fields of publishing and 
drama : true, these also serve to disseminate good values though 
hardly in such quantity as they disseminate bad ones; and we 
must qualify our indictment in the case of radio systems which 
are not subservient to commercial interests.) 

This situation makes nonsense of democracy, and nonsense 
of education. The underlying idea of democracy is that every 
individual is free to make up his own mind his own way, and 
that out of the mass of freely-formed individual opinions a 
general consensus will emerge which represents the will of the 
people. It is questionable whether this was ever wholly true, 
but it is certainly far from true in the industrial state with its 
mass media for the inculcation of values. (This is typical of the 
way in which technology has made nonsense of the classical 
political concepts to which we still cling.) The far-sighted 
modern ruler does not seek to establish a dictatorship of force 
but a dictatorship of values a bondage more secure and 
infinitely less troublesome to maintain. By these standards, our 
supposed democracies are in many respects dictatorships 
already, dictatorships not of fascism or communism but of 

In our ignorance we confine our criticisms of the press, and 
other media, to the question of whether they report the facts. 
We fail to realise that a paper can report the facts with perfect 
accuracy and still disseminate the most disastrous values. 

We are emerging from an age of individualism in which the 
law was ready to restrain people from committing actions or 
making statements damaging to individuals but was slow to 
restrain them from damaging the state. Recently we have begun 
to recognise that individuals can harm the public weal by overt 
acts, but we are so egregiously ignorant of sociology that we do 
not recognise the subtler forms of damage to society. We see 
nothing very wrong, for instance, in advertising a face-cream as 
status-conferring, and those of us who are sophisticated enough 
to see the factual fallacy laugh at it. That the true significance 


Conditions of Happiness 

of such a claim lies in the field of values and is independent of 
whether or not it is untrue escapes us. 

vn Inducation 

It is a platitude beloved of those who address schoolboy 
audiences that education means drawing out and not putting in. 
Grammatically this is correct; factually it is not. Even if the 
theoretical ideal is that the prime function of education is to 
develop the innate capacities of the pupil, nevertheless in 
practice all education involves a huge amount of putting in. 
I do not refer merely to factual material, dates and chemical 
formulae, but to attitudes, interpretations and ideas. Any reader 
who doubts this should, if he is not a Roman Catholic, go to a 
Roman Catholic school and listen to the teaching of the 
history of the Reformation, while Catholic readers should try 
the same experiment at a non-Catholic school; or he might 
compare British and American versions of the War of 

Apart from formal education, all forms of communication 
propaganda, advertisement and even what we suppose to be 
factual information or artistic truth inevitably contain a large 
element of putting-in. This putting-in process plays such an 
important part in our life that it is time we recognised its 
existence. It might be easier to do so if it had a name. I shall 
call it inducation. (And a pox on any don who objects.) By it I 
mean something much broader than propaganda, which implies 
a deliberate aim which is often absent in inducation. For instance, 
a school which provides religious services or a cinema which 
plays the national anthem at the close of the performance are 
inducating a respect for religion and the royal family respec- 
tively but it would be inexact to describe either as propaganda. 
The headmaster may be an agnostic and the cinema manager 
a republican: but each defers unthinkingly to custom and public 

Similarly, the producer of an American film does not 
deliberately inculcate materialistic values, or so I suppose. 


Politics of Happiness 

Presumably he presents the values which he thinks the charac- 
ters he is representing would normally hold. But if these values 
are wrong values he may be inducating wrong values into his 
audience, especially if, in his ignorance of sociology, he presents 
such values in a favourable light. He will, in general, be inclined 
to present the values which exist in his own culture as being 
good values, though the fact that values exist is, of course, no 
guarantee of their suitability. In addition, he will later send his 
film abroad into other cultures, possibly holding superior values 
to his own, and thus will be engaged in inducating the audiences 
of that country. 

Because of the enormous weight and ubiquity of the induca- 
tory forces, it is farcical to discuss the reform of education 
properly, so-called. Its inducatory content is poor enough, but 
its effect is in any case trifling as against these overwhelming 

The question arises, if we are to try and impose a value 
system on people, are we not running headlong into that very 
process of compulsion which we have already indicted ? Is this 
any different from fascism ? Here, I think we have to make up 
our minds. Either all values are equally worthy, or else there 
are good and bad values. If the latter, then the question which 
arises is, can we distinguish good from bad values? I believe 
we can\ and that there is only one acceptable system of values 
that based on love. Even if one distrusts religion and despises 
ethics one has to admit the bald fact that, fundamentally, only 
two schemes of value exist, those based on love and hate, 
respectively. The latter generates a vicious spiral of destructive 
activity and multiplies human misery ; the former a benign spiral 
of happiness. 

Provided that this fact is recognised, people can be left to 
work out courses of action they will, no doubt, disagree 
violently on what course to take in given circumstances, but 
if their values are sound the result can be awaited with some 
confidence. Control or regulation of values is thus something 
very different from regulation of actions 'planning' as we call 
it. For control of values leaves entire freedom to the individual. 


Conditions of Happiness 

Nor can it of its nature be perverted to the uses of dictatorship, 
as can political power to regulate actions. 

The only dangerous possibility and it is the possibility 
which has become actuality today is that men should band 
together to preach false values on a massive scale. Is it too 
optimistic to believe that if sound values are preached with 
equal force the public will soon recognise the false values for 
what they are and that their advocates will be compelled to 
change their tune by the force of public opinion ? If it is, the 
outlook is indeed black. There remains the ancient social 
device of a college charged with the duty of protecting values. 

In the past it was always a firm principle that the temporal 
power should be restrained by a spiritual power. This spiritual 
power was represented by the Church and the theory was that the 
Church, being uninterested in political issues and earthly gains, 
could advise or denounce impartially. The Church was thus 
conceived as the guardian of society's values. Unhappily the 
Church has not successfully sustained this proud role. The 
Protestant Church has shrunk from the responsibility of con- 
demning those institutions and persons who contravene the 
values it preaches and has lost the prestige essential to its 
function in consequence. The Roman Catholic Church has 
been less cowardly but more venal. Though it has continued to 
pontificate on social and political issues, often most wisely, 
it has gained the reputation of concerning itself in material 
issues for material ends and has lost prestige likewise. 

Society badly needs a corpus of wise men, selected not so 
much for experience, eminence or success as for breadth of 
vision, humanity and integrity, who will concern themselves 
not so much with the minutiae of day-to-day legislation (as does 
the Senate and the House of Lords) but with the broad general 
picture of our times. But to establish a 'Standing Committee 
for the Maintenance of Values' would not at first be enough 
for it would be many years until it acquired the necessary 
prestige. Since the Church, despite its defects, still has vastly 
more prestige than any government department, possibly it 
should take the initiative in such a step: but it should not seek 


Politics of Happiness 

to keep such a commission under its control. It should base it 
broadly, calling on all elements in the community to play 
their part. 

vni Is Happiness Possible ? 

I have attempted to analyse the unhappiness of our society. 
I have tried to show that our society is the reflection of our 
personalities. It is we who, by an elaborate process, make 
ourselves unhappy. I have suggested that machinery has stimu- 
lated this process of self-immolation, not because of anything 
inherent in machinery, but because of the way we use it. And 
I have suggested that totalitarianism is bound to gain ground, 
in fact to triumph, unless we can find a superior solution for 
our problems. 

How this process comes about, what initiates it, is a question 

with which I have not attempted to deal. It raises such wide 

issues that I must leave it for another book. In any case we do 

. not need this knowledge in order to see how sick our society is. 

For too long we have pictured society as inherently stable, 
capable of healing by its own vital force the rough scars we 
inflict upon it by political surgery. We must force ourselves to 
think of it as assailed by a bombardment of technical change 
which threatens its very existence. Desperately strained as it is 
by the effort to adapt to shifting circumstances it has little 
vitality to spare for absorbing deliberately introduced readjust- 
ments when these prove ill-conceived. Social engineering of a 
delicate order and on a cyclopean scale is called for but it is 
the most dire of errors to suppose that social engineering, even 
in conjunction with personal improvement, will suffice to 
restore happiness. Everyone might employ their best endeavours 
to be friendly in a society as stable as a gyroscope, and still be 
frustrated, anxious and bored. Only if values are sound can we 
hope for happiness. 

It is a commonplace to say that we are living in a revolution 
but the assertion is dangerously misleading. The revolution 
in the technological environment is the cause of our troubles. 


Conditions of Happiness 

The cure is a revolution in the field of values. And that is a 
revolution which is still to come. 

Nevertheless, there is one thing which emerges from the 
present analysis from which we can take comfort. Behind all 
man's questioning lies a deeper unspoken question. Is the 
universe so designed that happiness is possible, or is it funda- 
mentally antagonistic? Can we be assured that man's nature 
is in harmony with the nature of things if only 'the paralysing 
corruptions of custom would stand from between ?' The answer I 
find in these researches is 'yes.' A cautious 'yes,' certainly, for the 
paralysing corruptions of custom are seen to be more subtle and 
complex than Rousseau dreamed, (feut basically the answer is 
favourable. Man's final need is to love and be loved. That is a 
need which answers the needs of other men, so that the more 
any one man attains his own true happiness, the more he must 
assist others in attaining theirs. In this reciprocal nature of the 
love-function lies the promise of final harmony. It is no easy 
promise. We have to labour to achieve it. There is no guarantee 
of success : indeed, we can easily fail altogether. It is not so much 
a promise as a challenge. 



ADLER, A., 59, 61 
Adrian, E. D., 20, 24 
^Esthetic needs, 17, 24 ff., 158 
Aggression, 19, 50-2, 70, 155, 166, 

167, 179, 1 80, 187, 209, 241 
, control of, 70 ff., 241 
Alcoholism, 3, 14 
Amphlett Islanders, 106 
Anal training, 78, 105-6, 177 
Anger, 50-2 

Anxiety, 86, 104, 158, 177, 185 
Art, 52-4, 1 66, 225 
Asceticism, 179, 180, 181-2, 185, 

205, 260 

Ash ton, E. B., 195, 202 
Authoritarianism, 85, 114, 129, 

187, 193, 196, 215, 260. See also 

Society, patriform 


103 ff., 181 ff., 198, 223, 240. See 
also Industrial personality struc- 

Bateson, G., 93, 108, 269 

Beauty, 55, 148 

Beck, S. J., 267 

Behaviour, non- valid, 64 ff. 

Benedict, R., in 

Berg, C., 183 

Bergson, H., 43 

Berman, L., 33, 34 

Bigland, E., 224 

'Blisses/ 25, 26 

Borsodi, R., 246 

Bostock, J., 27 

Bowlby, J., 76, 176 

Briffault, R., 115 

British Rheumatism Council, Re- 
port of, 150 

Bucke, P. M., 44 

Butler, Dom C., 44 

Capitalism, 256 ff. 
Carpenter, .,238 
Carpenter, N., 150 

Castration -complex, 81. See also 

Cawadias, A. P., 33 
Chapman, G., 154, 236 
Character, affectionless, 75, 176 
Christ, 89, 114, 182 
Christianity, 81, 114, 129, 182, 205 
Cinema, 158, 166-7, 168-9, 189, 


Claremont, C. A., 32 
Clark, C., 146, 245-6 
Class, 219 

Cleanliness, 78, 178, 187 
Clitoridectomy, 102, 128 
Cohesion, social, 138, 139, 160, 

202, 224 

Comforts,' 22, 26 
Communications, 145, 154 
Communism, 196, 213 ff. See also 


Competition, 190, 241 ff. 
Conflict, emotional, 66-7, 70, 178 
of values. See Values* conflict of 
Conscience, 90 ff., 108, 199, 261, 


Conservatism, 84, 258-9 
Consistency, 55, 157, 198, 248 
Controls, social, 161 
Co-operation, 241 
Coster, G., 47 
Coulson, R. G., and Reynolds, 

B. T., 40, 41 

Cranfprd, V., and Seliger, R. V., 3 
Creativity, 52, 83, 147 
Crocker, L. H., and Pearse, I. H., 


Cultural chaos, 126 
Culture, 99 ff., 130 
Culture items, harmful, 120 
Customs, ice, 103, 117-20 
, harmful, 120 
, origin of, 120-2 

DAHLBERG, G., 104 
Davis, K. B., 157 
Decentralisation, 231, 244 
, economics of, 244 ff . 



Decomposition, 71 
Demand, economic, 13, 70, 172 
Destructiveness, 51-2, 59, 207 
Dicks, H. V., 3 
Dirt. See Cleanliness 
'Discomforts,* 22, 26 
Displacement, 62, 71-2, 167 
Distractions, 123, 168 ft., 203 
Dobu, the, 105, 111-12, 190 
Drives, 18, 20 ff. 
Drucker, P., 139, 204, 206 

EFFICIENCY, industrial, and size of 
plant, 245-6 

Ego-ideal, 90, 261 

Ellis, C. Williams-. See Williams- 
Ellis, C. 

Emotion, nature of, 47 

Emotions, 25. See also Love, Hate 

Encyc. Brit., 3 

FAMILY, 202, 242, 268 
Fascism, 193 ff., 244 
, defined, 194 
Father-identification, 84, 115, 129, 

196, 206, 215 
Ferenczi, 76 
Finger, F. W., 55 
Florence, P. Sargant-. See Sargant- 

Florence, P. 
Flugel, J. C., 84, oo 
Food supply, 105, 1 88 
Fortune, R. F., 105, in 
Freud, S., 40, 44, 54, 57 ff., 81, 87 
Frustration, general, 50 ff., 96, 

1 80, 216 

, oral, 76, 104-5, 176-7 
Function and status, 131 ff., 154, 


GERMANY, cultural bifurcation in, 

126. See also Fascism 
Gillin, J. L., and Gillin, J. P., 99 
Glenday, R., 232-3 
Gorer, G., 79 
Grinker, H. R., 34, 49 
Group, 1301, 2301. See also In- 

Guilt, 81, 82, 84, 119 ff., 128, 179, 

182, 185, 186, 198-9 

HAPPINESS, conditions of, 140 
, defined as purpose, 60, 252 
, meaning of word, 1 1 ff. 
, not object of existence, 7 n. 

Harding, D., 209 
Hate, 39, 48, 49, ?o-i, 273 
Head, H., and Rivers, W. H. R., 20 
Health, mental, 3. See also Neu- 

, physical, 23, I49~5i 
Heard, G., 266 
Hedonic tone, 20 ff. 
Hedonism, 15, 180 
Heredity, 34-5 

Hitler, A., 196-7, *99, 203, 244 
Homosexuality, 83 n., 155, 182-3 
Horney, K., 67, 69, 258 
House-training, 78-9, 105-6, 177-8 
Hunger, 22 

Hunt, J. McV., 55, 94, 108 
Hunter, M., 105 
Huntington, E., 34 
Huxley, A., 231, 249 


Identification, 39 ff., 45, 84, 167. 
See also Father-identification 

In-group, 152, 202, 242, 268 

Individualism, 241 ff. 

Inducation, 272 ff. 

Industrial personality structure, 
174 ff. 

Industry, size and efficiency, 245 

Inquisitiveness, 184 

Insecurity, 158, 196-7. See Secur- 
ity, Anxiety 

Instincts, 30 ff. 

Institutions, 100, 161-2 

Introjection, 71, 181, 261 

Isaacs, S., 79, 91 

Isolation, 153 

JAMES, W., 44, 48-9 

James- Lange theory of emotions, 

Jung, C. G., 35, 80 

KANT, I., 114 

Kardiner, A., 80, 103, 105, in, 

117, 258 n. 
Kipling, R., 56 
Klein, M., and Riviere, J., 75 
Kluver, H,, 44 
Koffka, K., 63 
Kwakiutl, the, 111-12, 190 

LANCET, THE (quoted), 34 

Lane, W. A., 151 
Learning, 61 ff., 74 



Leisure, 146, 173, 236 
Lichtenstein, P. M., and Small, 

S. M., 3 

Liddell, H. S., 55 
Linton, R., 76, 99, no, 267 
Love, 37 ff., 46, 55, 70, 75-6, 106, 

155, 177-8, 250,273, 276 

McDougall, W., 30, 57 ff., 94 
Malinowski, B., 80, 106, 126, 128 
Markham, S. F., 34 
Marquesans, the, 80, 109, 190 
Marx, 227 

Marxism, 210, 219, 257 ff. 
Masochism. See Sado-masochism 
Mastery, 50 ff., 146 ff., 165-7, 169, 

197, 207, 216, 221 
Masturbation, 81 ff., 107, 178 
Materialism, 188, 204, 212, 224, 

227, 258, 271 

Matrists, 114, 189, 215, 260 
Mead, M., 33, 85, 109, 135, 190, 


Mechanisation, 145, 234-5 
'Miseries,' 25 

Monogamy, 101, 109, 155, 179 
Morality, open and closed, 43 
Mother-identification, 84, 113, 189 
Motivation, 18 ff. See also Needs 
Mottram, V. H., 34 
Murray, H. A., 267 
Mysticism, 44 ff. 


Nathan, P., 199 

Nazism, 128. See also Fascism 

Needs, aesthetic, 24, 30 

emotional, 25, 151 

for consistency, 55-6, 157 

for variety, 55-6, 157 

hierarchy of, 26 

neurotic, 14, 128 

physical, 21, 149 

spiritual, 44 ff. See also c Oceanic 

, summarised, 60 
Nerve-division experiment, 20 
Neumann, F., 200 
Neurosis, 3, 55, 66 ff., 112, 151, 

1 80, 182, 260 
, character-, 68 
, cultural, 105, iu-12, 175, 188 
, situation, 67 
Newman, H. H., 35 

Nexus, psychosocial, 8 ff., 191 
Noise, 150, 153 

CEdipus situation, 80 ff., 106, 115* 

179, 186, 191, 199 
Ogden, C. K., 49 
Orr, J. B., 149 
Osborn, R., 258 

PAFN, 19 

Paneth, M., 179 

Paraprimitivism, 237 

Parran, J., 3 

Pearse, I. H., and Crocker, L. H., 

, and Scott- Williamson, G., 149 

Peckham Health Centre, 149 

Personality and society, interac- 
tion of, 10, 191, 262 

, changes of, 34-5 

, industrial, 176 ff. 

, matriform, 84 

, patriform, 84, 113, 116, 191, 

2i5 259 

Phrasing of needs, 240-1, 242 

Piaget, J., 91 

Plato, 21 

Pleasure, 18 

'Pleasures/ 25 

Popp, H. W., 150 

Population, density oft 144, 232 ff. 

Potency, sexual, 82, 95, 151 

Prestige, 132. See also Status 

Primal scene, 80, 179 

Production, misuse of, 170 

Productiveness, 186, 236 

Progress, 266 

Psyche, I9n., 97 

Punishment, 55. See also Rein- 
statement pattern 

Purpose, 60, 138, 196-7, 217, 252 

RADKE, M. J., 187 

Rank, O., 74 

Registrar- General's Report, 150 

Reinstatement pattern, 107, 179 

Religion, 114, 187, 214-15. See also 

Remechanisation, 234 
Repression, 66, 71 
Research, 267 
Reynolds, B. T., and Coulson, 

R. G., 40, 41, 42, 46 
Riviere, J., and Klein, M., 75 


Rivers, W. H. R., and Head, H., 20 
Roheim, G., 105 
Role, 132 

SAt>0-MASOCHISM, 59, 68, 87, 179 

Samuel, Viscount, 236, 251 

Sargant-Florence, P., 232 

Scott- Williamson, G., and Pearse, 

I- H., 149 
Security, 38, 75, 158, 162, 197-8, 

250. See also Insecurity 
Seldes, G., 167 
Self-consciousness, 266 
Self-determination, 56, 159, 231, 

Self-validation, 82, 112, 184, 191, 


Seliger, R. V., and Cranford, V., 3 
Sexuality, 33 

Sherif, M., and Cantril, H., 97 
Simmel, G., 150 
Small, S. M., and Lichtenstein, 

P. M., 3 
Socialism, 8, 255 ff. See also 

Society, functioning, I3off., 202, 

, patriform and matriform, 

113 ff., 115, 187, 214-15 
Specialisation, 145, 147, 150 
Staley, E., 145 
Standard of living, 146, 204, 216, 

Status, 131 ff., 154, 159, 199 ff-, 


, mobile, 135, 218 
Status-base, i36ff. 
Stoicism, 15 

Substitute satisfactions, 13, 165 ff. 
Success, 1 88, 205. See also Self- 

Suicide-rate, 3 

Super-ego, 90 ff., 108, 199, 261, 

Suttie, I., 3, 37, 5^-9, "5 

TABOO ON TENDERNESS, 72, 1 1 6, 203 

Taboos, 65, 100 

, sexual, 81, 107, 151, 157, 182, 

185, 191 

Tanala, the, 105-6, 108, no 
Taylor, G. R., 139, 221 
Tennyson, A., 44 
Thumb-sucking, 176 
Time-sense, 55 
Trobriand Islanders, 80, 106, 115 

'UNPLEASURE,' 19, 25 
Unwin, J. D., 146 

VALUES, 100, 113, 122 ff., 163-4, 

1 80, 224, 270 ff. 

, conflict of, 124, 1 80, 198, 243 
Variety, 55, 157, 162, 248 

WAR, 207-8 

Wealth, disparity of, 145 

Wells, H. G., 97, 145 

Watson, J. B., 48 

Weaning, 76, 177. See also Frustra- 
tion, oral 

West, R., 261 

Whitehead, T. N., 132 

Whyte, L. L., 266 

Wickes, F., 35 

Williams-Elks, C., 148, 231 

Williamson, G. Scott-. See Scott- 
Williamson, G. 

Wordsworth, W., 44 

YOGA, 47